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handle  this  volume 

with  care. 

The  University  of  Connecticut 
Libraries,  Storrs 


i>\t  ^riiislj  (Kssapls, 


LITTLE,    BROWN    &    CO. 





In  38  vols.  16ino, 




The  volumes  are  of  the  exact  size  and  style  of  Little, 
BRO^\'N  &  Co.'s  edition  of  the  "  British  Poets,"  and  sold 
at  the  same  price,  —  seventy-five  cents  per  volume. 

NOTICES     OP     THE     PRESS. 

"  No  greater  service,  we  think,  can  be  done  in  the  cause 
of  good  letters,  than  the  extensive  dissemination  of  these 
standard  compositions.  They  embrace  the  best  models  of 
style  in  the  English  language ;  and  the  mode  in  which  their 
authors  treat  their  subjects  might  be  imitated  to  advantage 
by  the  facile  WTiters  of  the  present  day.  The  higli  reputa- 
tion of  the  house  of  Little,  Brown  &  Co.,  and  the  admirable 
excellence  of  their  edition  of  the  British  Poets,  —  which 
their  proposed  edition  of  the  •  Essayists '  will  imitate,  — 
afford  more  than  a  sufficient  guaranty  that  it  will  deserve 
the  patronage  of  the  public.     These  *  British  Essayists '  are 


truly  works  that  no  library,  even  of  the  most  meagre  preten- 
sions, can  afford  to  be  without."  —  Boston  Daily  Advertiser. 

*•  The  smooth  and  polished  essays  of  the  eighteenth  cen- 
tury find  more  admirers,  and  are  probably  more  read,  than 
any  others  of  the  writings  that  go  to  make  up  the  sum  of 
English  literature.  Had  they  not  great  merits,  tliis  could 
not  be  the  case.  Their  claims,  indeed,  are  very  great  to  the 
respect  and  attention  of  the  reading  world.  An  eminent 
critic  and  essayist  of  our  age  has  said,  '  If  ever  the  best 
Tatlers  and  Spectators  were  equalled  in  their  own  kind,  we 
should  be  inclined  to  guess  that  it  must  have  been  by  tlie 
lost  comedies  of  Menander.'  This  is  meant  to  apply  to  the 
contributions  of  Addison  ;  but  the  other  essayists  were,  in 
some  instances,  by  no  means  the  inferiors  of  Addison, 
though  their  talents  differed  from  his,  and  were  perhaps  less 
adapted  to  essay- writing.  But  such  men  as  Steele,  John- 
son, and  Hawkesworth,  were  among  the  first  writers  of  their 
time."  —  Boston  Chronicle. 

««  ♦  The  Tatler,'  '  The  Rambler,'  *  The  Spectator,'  •  The 
Guardian,'  'The  Adventurer,'  written  by  such  men  as 
Steele,  Johnson,  Addison,  Hawkesworth,  are  standard  com- 
positions, —  models  of  good  old  English.  They  not  only 
contain  good  writing,  but  are  life-like  pictures  of  the  times 
in  which  they  were  -written.  An  edition  of  these  Essays, 
issued  in  the  accurate  and  neat  manner  in  which  Little, 
Brown  &  Co.  get  out  their  works,  will  be  richly  worthy  of  a 
place  in  every  library.  This  edition  will  be,  in  every  re- 
spect, a  complete  one,  —  supplied  Avith  an  index,  and  with 
valuable  historical  and  biographical  prefaces,  —  and  one 
worthy  of  the  sterling  merits  and  wide  renown  of  these 
productions.  So  varied  and  often  amusing  arc  they,  so  cer- 
tain to  cultivate  a  pure  style,  that  ^\e  hardly  know  how  a 
more  judicious  selection  could  be  made,  of  >vorks  to  make  a 
family  library,  than  this  edition  of  these  Essays.  It  will  tui- 
doubtedly  receive  a  large  public  patronage." — Boston  Post. 

fljt  ^ritis^  '^^dB, 


LITTLE,    BllOWN    &    CO. 




This  Series  of  British  Poets  has  secm-ed  the  unqualified 
commendation  of  the  press  and  the  pubHc  in  all  i)arts  of 
the  country,  and  has  been  everv^vhere  received  with  a 
favor  far  exceeding  what  was  anticipated  ;  so  that  the  suc- 
cess of  the  undertaking  is  established  beyond  all  question. 
This  edition  is  universally  acknowledged  to  be  the  best 
ever  issued,  both  in  point  of  echtorship  and  mechanical 

NOTICES     OF     THE     PRESS. 

"  We  cannot  speak  too  highly  in  praise  of  this  edition  — 
the  only  one  that  deserves  the  name  of  '  complete'  —  of  tlie 
British  Poets."  —  Boston  Daily  Adcertiser. 

"  We  really  know  nothing  more  worthy  of  the  cordial 
support  of  the  American  pubhc  than  the  Boston  edition  oi' 
the  English  Poets."  —  New  York  Times. 


**  A  fairer  printed,  a  more  tasteful  or  more  valuable,  set  of 
books  cannot  be  placed  in  any  library."  —  New  York  Courier 
and  Enquirer, 

•'  The  best,  the  most  permanently  valuable,  the  most  con- 
venient, and  the  cheapest  edition  of  the  standard  poetical 
literature  of  Great  Britain  ever  published." — Home  Journal, 

**  We  regard  it  as  the  most  beautiful  and  convenient 
library-edition  of  the  British  Poets  yet  published."  —  Phila- 
delphia Evening  Bulletin. 

"  We  do  not  know  any  other  edition  of  the  English  Poets 
which  combines  so  much  excellence."  —  Bibliotheca  Sacra. 

The  following  volumes 

Akenside 1  vol. 

Beattie 1  vol. 

Butler 2  vols. 

Campbell 1  vol. 

Churchill 3  vols. 

Coleridge 3  vols. 

Collins 1  vol. 

CowPER 3  vols. 

Dryden 5  vols. 

Falconer 1  vol. 

Gay 2  vols. 

Goldsmith 1  vol. 

Gray 1  vol. 

Herbert 1  vol. 

Hood 2  vols. 

are  already  issued :  — 

Keats 1  vol. 

Milton 3  vols. 

PaRNELL  &  TiCKELL  .    1  VOl. 

Pope 3  vols. 

Prior 2  vols. 

Shelley 3  vols. 

Spenser 5  vols. 

Surrey 1  vol. 

Swift 3  vols. 

Thomson 2  vols. 

Watts 1  vol. 

White 1  vol. 

Wordsworth 7  vols. 

Wyatt 1  vol. 

YouNO 2  vols. 

*#*  We  have  in  Press,  and  shall  issue  soon,  the  Works 
of  Byron,  Moore,  Vaughan,  Shakspeare,  Herrick,  Mar- 
vell,  Skelton,  Donne,  Chatterton,  Crabbe,  Southey, 
and  Chaucer.  The  remainder  of  the  series  will  be  pub- 
lished as  fast  as  the  volumes  can  be  prepared. 

'«5  ^- 










A.   CHALMERS,   F.  S.  A. 


I^  I  T  T  L  !•: ,    H  R  O  W  N     AND     C  0  M  1>  A  H  f . 


R  I  V  E  R  s  1  u  E ,    Cambridge: 




Nullius  acMictus  jurare  in  verba  magistri, 
Quo  me  cunque  rapit  tempestaf,  deferor  ho«pes. 

HOR.  EPIST.  i.  1.   14. 

No.   l^GU. 


VOL.    XVI. 


Historical  and  Biographical  Preface. 

1.  DiflBculty  of  the  First  Address — Practice  of  the 

Epic    Poets — Convenience   of    Periodical    Per- 
formances   JOHNSON. 

2.  The  Necessity  and  Danger  of  looking  into  Futurity 

— Writers    naturally    Sanguine  —  Their  Hopes 

liable  to  Disappointment 

3.  An  Allegory  on  Criticism 

4.  The  Modern  Form  of  Romances  preferable  to  the 

Ancient — The  Necessity  of  Characters  morally 

5.  A  Meditation  on  the  Spring 

6.  Happiness  not  local 

7.  Retirement  natural  to  a  great  Mind — Its  religious 


8.  The  Thoughts  to  be  brought  under  Regulation;  as 

they  respect  the  Past,  Present,  and  Future 

9.  The  Fondness  of  every  Man   for  his  Profession — 

The  gradual  Improvement  of  Manufactures. ... 



10.  Four  Billets,  with  their  Answers — Eemarks  on  Mas- 

querades   MISS  MULSO. 

11.  The  Folly  of  Anger— The  Misery  of  a  Peevish  old 


12.  The  History-  of  a  Young  Woman  that  came  to  Lon- 

don for  a  Service 

13.  The  Duty  of  Secrecy— The  Invalidity  of  all  Ex- 

cuses for  betraying  Secrets ■ 

14.  The  Difference  between  an  Author's  Writings  and 

his  Conversation - 

15.  The  Folly  of  Cards — A  Letter  from  a  Lady  that 

has  lost  her  Money ■ 

16.  The  Dangers  and  Misery  of  Litei-ary  Eminence. . . 

17.  The  frequent  Contemplation  of  Death  necessary 

to  moderate  the  Passions - 

18.  The  Unhappiness  of  Marriage  caused  by  irregular 

IMotives  of  Choice ■ 

19.  The  Danger  of  ranging  from  one  Study  to  another 

— The  Importance  of  the  early  Choice  of  a  Pro- 

20.  The  Folly  and  Inconvenience  of  AtVectation ■ 

21.  The  Anxieties  of  Literature  not  less  than  those  of 

puljlic    Stations — The    Inequality   of   Authors' 
Writings ■ 

22.  An  Allegory  on  Wit  and  Learning • 

23.  The  Contrariety  of  Criticism — The  Vanity  of  Ob- 

jection— An  Author  obliged  to  depend  upon  his 
own   Judgment 

24.  The  Necessity  of  attending  to  the  Duties  of  Com- 

mon Life — The  Natural  Character  not  to  be  for- 



25.  Rashness  preferable  to  Cowardice — Enterprise  not 

to  be  repressed johnsox. 

26.  Tlie  Mischief  of  Extravagance,  and  Misery  of  De- 


27.  An  Aiitiior's  Treatment  from  six  Patrons 

28.  The  Various  Arts  of  Self-Delusion 

29.  The  Folly  of  anticipating  Misfortunes 

30.  The  Observance  of  Sunday  recommended;  an  Al- 

legory   MISS  TALI50T. 

31.  The  Defence  of  a  known  Mistake  highly  culpable  joiinson. 

32.  The  Vanity  of  Stoicism — The  Necessity  of  Pa- 


33.  An  allegorical  Historv  of  Rest  and  Labour 

34.  The  Uneasiness  and  Disgust  of  Female  Cowardice 

35.  A  Marriage  of  Prudence  without  Affection 

36.  The  Reason  why  Pastorals  delight 

37.  The  true  Principles  of  Pastoral  Poetry 

38.  The  Advantage  of  Mediocrity — An  Eastern  Fable 

39.  The  Unhappiness  of  Women,  whether  single  or 


40.  The  Ditlkulty  of  giving  Advice  without  oflending 

41.  The  Advantages  of  Memory 

42.  The  Misery  of  a  Modish  Lady  in  Solitude 

43.  The   Inconveniences  of  Prccijtitation  and  Confi- 


44.  Religion  and  Superstition,  a  Vision mhs.  cai:iki{. 

iu.  The  Causes  of  Disagreement  in  Marriage joiinson. 



46.  The  Mischiefs  of  Rural  Faction johnson. 

47.  The  proper  Means  of  regulating  Soitow 

48.  The  Miseries  of  an  Infirm  Constitution 

49.  A  Disquisition  upon  the  Value  of  Fame 

50.  A  virtuous  Old  Age  always  reverenced 

51.  The  Employments  of  a  Housewife  in  the  Country 

62.  The  Contemplation  of  the  Calamities  of  others,  a 
Remedy  for  Grief 

53.  The  Folly  and  Misery  of  a  Spendthrift 

54.  A  Death-bed  the  true  School  of  Wisdom — The  Ef- 

fects of  Death  upon  the  Survivors 

55.  The  gay  Widow's  Impatience  of  the  Growth  of  her 

Daughter — The  History  of  Miss  May-pole 

56.  The  Necessity  of   Complaisance — The  Rambler's 

Grief  for  offending  his  Correspondents 

57.  Sententious  Rules  of  Frugality 

58.  The  Desire  of  Wealth  moderated  by  Philosophy, . 

59.  An  Account  of  Suspirius,  the  human  Screech-owl 

60.  The  Dignity  and  Usefulness  of  Biography 





When  Dr.  Johnson  iind(^rtook  to  write  this 
justly  celebrated  paper,  he  had  many  difh- 
culties  to  encounter.  If,  lamenting  that  dur- 
ing th(;  long  period  which  had  elapsed  since 
the  conclusion  of  the  A\Titings  of  Addison, 
vice  and  folly  had  begun  to  recover  from 
depression  and  contempt,  he  wished  again  to 
rectify  public  taste  and  manners,  to  "  give 
confidence  to  virtue  and  ardour  to  truth,"  he 
knew  that  the  popularity  of  those  writings 
had  constituted  them  a  precedent,  whic-h  his 
genius  was  incapable  of  following,  and  from 
which  it  would  be  dangerous  to  tlepart.  In 
the  character  of  an  Essayist,  he  was  hitherto 
unknown  to  the  public.  He  had  written 
nothing  by  which  a  favorable  judgment  could 


be  formed  of  his  success  in  a  species  of  com- 
position, which  seemed  to  requii*e  the  ease, 
and  vivacity,  and  humour  of  polished  life  ; 
and  he  had,  probably,  often  heard  it  repeated 
that  Addison  and  his  colleagues  had  antici- 
pated all  the  subjects  fit  for  a  popular  essay : 
that  he  might,  indeed,  aim  at  varying  or  im- 
proving what  had  been  said  before,  but  could 
stand  no  chance  of  being  esteemed  an  original 
writer,  or  of  striking  the  imagination  by  new 
and  unexpected  reflections  and  incidents.  He 
was  likewise,  perhaps,  aware  that  he  might 
be  reckoned,  what  he  about  this  time  calls 
himself,  "  a  retired  and  uncourtly  scholar," 
unfit  to  describe,  because  precluded  from  the 
observation  of  refined  society  and  manners. 

But  they  who  pride  themselves  on  long  and 
accurate  knowledge  of  the  world,  are  not 
aware  how  little  of  that  knowledge  is  neces- 
sary in  order  to  expose  vice,  or  detect  absurd- 
ity ;  nor  can  they  believe  that  evidence,  far 
short  of  ocular  demonstration,  is  amply  suffi- 
cient for  the  purposes  of  the  wit  and  the 
moralist.  Dr.  Johnson  appeared  in  the  char- 
acter of  a  moral  teacher  with  powers  of  mind 
beyond  the  common  lot  of  man,  and  with  a 
knowledge  of  the  inmost  recesses  of  the 
human  heart,  such  as  never  was  displayed 
with  more  elegance,  or  stronger  conviction. 
Though,  in  some  respects,  a  recluse,  he  had 
not  been  an  inattentive  observer  of  human 
life;  and  he  was  now  of  an  age  at  which, 
probably,  as  much  is  known  as  can  be  known, 


and  at  which  the  full  vii^rour  of  his  faculties 
enabled  him  to  divulge  his  experience  and 
his  observations,  with  a  certainty  that  they 
were  neither  immature  nor  fallacious.  He 
had  studied,  and  he  had  noted  the  varieties 
of  human  character ;  and  it  is  evident,  that 
the  lesser  improprieties  of  conduct,  and  errors 
of  domestic  life,  had  often  been  the  subjects 
of  his  secret  ridicule. 

Previously  to  the  commencement  of  The 
Rambler,  he  had  drawn  the  outlines  of  many 
essays,  of  which  specimens  may  be  seen  in 
the  biographies  of  Sir  John  Ilawkins,  and 
Mr.  Boswell ;  and  it  is  probable  that  the  sen- 
timents of  all  these  papers  had  been  long 
floating  in  his  mind.  With  such  preparation, 
he  began  The  Rambler  without  any  communi- 
cation with  his  friends,  or  desire  of  assistance. 
Whether  he  proposed  the  scheme  himself, 
does  not  appear ;  but  he  was  fortunate  in 
fornung  an  engagement  with  Mr.  John  Payne, 
a  bookseller  in  Paternoster-row,  and  after- 
w^ards  the  chief  accountant  in  the  bank  of 
England;*  a  man  with  whom  he  lived  many 
years  in  habits  of  friendsliip  ;  and  who,  on  the 
present  occasion,  treated  his  author  with  great 

*  This  office  he  resigned  .111110  30,  1785.  lie  IkuI  In-en  long 
the  friend  and  disciple  of  Dr.  .Jiiines  Foster,  an  eminent  dis- 
pcritf-r,  !)Ut  aftcr\v:iril-<  hecanie  no  less  an  admirer  of  the  pious 
William  Law,  and  wrote  a  volume  in  his  defence,  a<jainst  Dr. 
Warburton.  Ho  published  also  a  volume  of  Evangelical  Dis- 
courses, and  gave  a  new  Tran-lntion  of  Thoni;i>  iv  Keni{)is,  being 
dis->ati-;lied  witli  the  ll*o^e  parapiiruse  of  Dean  Stanhope.  In  all 
these  his  abilities  appeared  to  considerable  advaulugo.  Ho  dioU 
March  10,  17b7,  at  an  advanced  ago. 


liberality.  He  engaged  to  pay  him  two  guineas 
for  each  paper,  or  four  guineas  per  week,  which 
at  that  time  must  have  been  to  Johnson  a  very 
considerable  sum ;  and  he  admitted  him  to  a 
share  of  the  future  profits  of  the  work,  when 
it  should  be  collected  into  volumes;  which 
share  Johnson  afterwards  sold. 

The  commencement  of  The  Rambler  was 
a  matter  of  great  importance  with  the  author, 
as  if  he  had  foreseen  that  this  work  was  here- 
after to  constitute  his  principal  fame ;  and  as 
he  had  wisely  determined  that  his  fame  should 
rest  as  much  on  the  good  he  had  done,  as  on 
the  pleasure  he  might  afford,  with  his  accus- 
tomed piety,  he  composed  and  offered  up  the 
following  prayer,  entitled  "  Prayer  on  The 

"Almighty  God,  the  giver  of  all  good  things, 
without  whose  help  all  labor  is  ineSectual,  and 
without  whose  grace  all  wisdom  is  folly; 
grant,  I  beseech  Thee,  that  in  this  my  under- 
taking thy  Holy  Spirit  may  not  be  withheld 
from  me,  but  that  I  may  promote  thy  glory, 
and  the  salvation  both  of  myself  and  others  ; 
grant  this,  O  Lord,  for  the  sake  of  Jesus 
Christ.     Amen." 

It  has  already  been  noticed,*  that  objections 
have  been  offered  to  the  name  Rambler.  In 
addition  to  what  was  then  suggested  on  this 
subject,  we  may  give  the  account  he  rendered 
to  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds,  which  forms,  prob- 

*  Preftxce  to  the  Guardian. 


ably,  as  good  an  excuse  as  so  trifling  a  cir- 
cumstance demands.  "  What  must  be  done, 
Sir,  will  be  done.  When  I  was  to  begin 
publishing  that  paper,  I  was  at  a  loss  how  to 
name  it.  I  sat  down  at  night  upon  my  bed- 
side, and  resolved  that  I  would  not  go  to 
sleep  till  I  had  fixed  its  title.  The  Rambh^r 
seemed  the  best  that  occurred,  and  I  took 
it."  The  Italians  have  literally  translated 
this  name  by  11  Vagabondo. 

The  first  paper  was  published  on  Tuesday, 
March  20,  1749-30,  and  the  work  continued, 
without  the  least  interruption,  every  Tuesday 
and  Saturday,  until  Saturday,  March  14,* 
1752,  on  which  day  it  closed.  Each  number 
was  handsomely  printed  on  a  sheet  and  a 
half  of  tine  paper,  at  tlie  price  of  two-pence, 
and  with  great  typographical  accuracy,  not 
above  a  dozen  errors  occurring  in  the  whole 
work  ;  a  circumstance  the  more  remarkable, 
because  the  copy  was  written  in  haste,  as  the 
tirne  urged,  and  sent  to  the  press  without 
being  revised  by  the  author.  When  we  con- 
sider that,  in  thci  whole  progress  of  the  work, 
tlie  sum  of  assistance  he  received  scarcely 
amounted  to  five  papers,  we  must  wonder  at 
the  fertility  of  a  mind  engaged  during  the 
same  period  in  that  stupendous  labour.  The 
English  Dictionary,  and  frecpieiitly  distraeted 
by  disease  and  anguish,  'i'here  is  not  in  the 
annals  of  literature  an  instance  wliicii  can  be 

♦  Krroneously  printed  in  the  fol.  edit.  Murcli  17. 


brought  as  a  parallel  to  this,  if  we  take  every 
circumstance  into  the  account.  Other  Essay- 
ists have  had  the  choice  of  their  days,  and 
their  happy  hours,  for  composition ;  but  Dr. 
Johnson  knew  no  remission,  although  he  very 
probably  would  have  been  glad  of  it,  and 
yet  continued  to  write  with  unabated  vigor 
although  even  this  disappointment  might  be 
supposed  to  have  often  rendered  him  uneasy, 
and  his  natural  indolence  —  not  the  indolence 
of  will,  but  of  constitution  —  would  in  other 
men  have  palsied  every  effort.  Towards  the 
conclusion,  there  is  so  little  of  that  "  falling 
off"  visible  in  some  works  of  the  same  kind, 
that  it  might  probably  have  been  extended 
much  further,  had  the  encouragement  of  the 
public  borne  any  proportion  to  its  merits. 

The  sale  was  very  inconsiderable,  and  sel- 
dom exceeded  five  hundred  ;  and  it  is  very 
remarkable,  and  a  most  curious  trait  in  the 
taste  of  the  age,  that  the  only  paper  which 
had  a  prosperous  sale,  and  may  be  said  to 
have  been  ))opular,  was  one  which  Dr.  Jolin- 
son  did  not  write.*  This  was  No.  97,  written 
by  Richardson,  the  author  of  Clarissa,  Pamela, 
and  Sir  Charles  Grandison.  Dr.  Johnson 
introduces  it  to  his  readers  with  an  elegant 
com})liment,  as  tlie  production  "  of  an  author 
from  whom  the  age  has  received  greater 
favours ;  who  has  enlarged  the  knowledge  of 
human  nature,  and  taught   the  passions  to 

*  Upon  tlio  authority  of  Mr.  Payne,  communicated  to   Mr. 
Nichols,  and  by  him  to  the  present  writer. 


move  at  the  command  of  virtue."  Greater 
favours  the  age  had  undoubtedly  received  from 
Richardson,  for  this  paper  is  of  very  inferior 
merit,  in  point  of  style  ;  and,  as  to  subject, 
proceeds  upon  an  error  that  may  be  easily 
detected.  It  complains  how  much  the  modes 
of  courtship  are  degenerated  since  the  days 
of  The  Spectator,  who  repeatedly  makes  the 
same  complaint. 

As  the  assistance  Dr.  Johnson  received  was 
so  trifling,  in  respect  to  quantity,  all  the  notice 
of  it  that  is  necessary  may  be  dispatched 
before  we  proceed  further.  The  four  billets 
in  No.  10  were  written  by  Miss  Mulso,  after- 
wards Mrs.  Chapoiie,  who  will  come  to  be 
mentioned  in  the  Preface  to  The  Adventurer. 
No.  30  was  WT-itten  by  Miss  Catherine  Talbot, 
a  lady  of  whom  a  very  exalted  character  has 
been  handed  down.  She  was  the  only  daugh- 
ter of  the  Rev.  Edward  Talbot,  Archdeacon 
of  Berks,  and  Preacher  at  the  Rolls.  She 
possessed  great  natural  talents,  a  vigorous 
understanding,  a  lively  imagination,  and 
refined  taste.  Her  principal  works,  "  Reflec- 
tions on  the  Seven  Days  of  the  Week,"  and 
"  Essays  on  Various  Subjects,  2  vols.,"  breathe 
the  noblest  spirit  of  Christian  benevolence, 
and  discover  a  more  than  common  acquaint- 
ance with  human  nature. 

Miss  Talbot  lived  many  years  in  the  family 
of  Archbishop  Seeker,  who  made  a  very 
lii)eral  provision  for  her  and  her  mother  in  his 
will,  leaving  them  the  interest,  for  their  lives, 


of  fourteen  thousand  pounds,  which  he  di- 
rected to  be  afterwards  given  to  various  char- 
ities. During  her  residence  with  the  venerable 
prelate,  a  singular  occurrence  took  place.  In 
1759,  the  unhappy  Dr.  Dodd  published  an 
edition  of  Bisliop  Hall's  Meditations,  and 
dedicated  them  to  Miss  Talbot.  This  dedi- 
cation, however,  was  so  strongly  expressed  as 
to  give  great  offence  to  the  Archbishop,  who, 
after  a  warm  epistolary  expostulation,  insisted 
on  the  sheet  being  cancelled  in  all  the  remain- 
ing copies.  Dodd's  object  was  preferment ; 
and  he  was  weak  enough  to  think  no  flattery 
too  gross,  by  which  his  wish  might  be  accom- 
plished. Miss  Talbot  died  Jan.  9,  1770,  in 
her  49th  year.  Besides  the  works  already 
mentioned,  she  was  the  author  of  a  beautiful 
and  fanciful  letter  to  a  new-born  child,  daugh- 
ter of  Mr.  John  Talbot,  a  son  of  the  Lord 
Chancellor,*  and  was  one  of  the  writers  in 
"  The  Athenian  Letters." 

The  only  remaining  contributor  was  Mrs. 
Elizabeth  Carter,  who  wrote  Nos.  44  and  100; 
and  who,  at  the  distance  of  half  a  century, 
enjoyed  in  full  possession  that  liberal  and 
enlightened  mind,  which  had  engaged  the 
esteem  and  admiration  of  successive  genera- 
tions of  wits  and  scholars.  Of  this  excellent 
lady.  Dr.  Johnson  used  to  say,  that  her  learn- 

*  Annual  Register,  1770.  But  a  nmch  more  full  and  excellent 
account  of  this  lady  is  given  in  Butler's  Life  of  Bisliop  Hildes- 
ley,  wiiich  I  liad  not  seen,  when  the  above  sketch  was  prepared 
for  the  former  edition  of  the  British  Essayists. 


ing  did  not  interfere  with  her  domestic  duties. 
"  She  eould  make  a  pudding  as  well  as  trans- 
late Epictetus  from  the  Greek ;  and  work  a 
handkerchief  as  well  as  compose  a  poem." 
He  once  composed  a  Greek  epigram  to  Eliza 
(Carter),  and  declared  that  she  ought  to  be 
celebrated  in  as  many  ditierent  languages  as 
Lewis  le  Grand.  Mrs.  Carter  died  Feb.  19, 
1806.  Her  Memoirs  have  since  been  pub- 
lished, in  quarto  and  octavo,  by  her  nephew 
and  executor,  the  Rev.  M.  Pennington ;  a 
work  replete  with  valuable  opinions  and 
remarks  on  subjects  connected  with  the  lite- 
rary periods  of  her  long  life.* 

Such  was  the  whole  of  the  assistance  our 
author  received  in  the  progress  of  this  work, 
although,  with  the  usual  license  of  essayists, 
he  speaks,  in  his  tenth  paper,  "  of  the  number 
of  correspondents  increasing  upon  him  every 
day."  Sir  John  Hawkins  informs  us  that  "  he 
forbore  to  solicit  assistance,  and  few  pre- 
sumed to  ofler  it."  That  he  forbore  to  solicit 
assistance  may  be  readily  believed,  but  it  can- 
not be  doubted  that  he  would  have  been  glad 
to  receive  it;  and  it  is  evident  that  he  thank- 
fully accepted  what  he  thought  worthy  of 
insertion.  Every  man  who  has  undertaken  a 
work  of  this  descri})tion,  will  feel  the  distress 
of  his  situation,  and  know  by  experience,  that 
he  "  who  condemns  himself  to  compose  on  a 
stated  day,  will  often   bring  to   his  task  an 

*  The  second  letter  iu  No.  107  was  from  an  unknown  corre- 

VOL.    XVL  2 


attention  dissipated,  a  memory  embarrassed, 
an  imagination  overwhelmed,  a  mind  dis- 
tracted with  anxieties,  a  body  languishing 
with  disease ;  he  will  labor  on  a  barren  topic, 
till  it  is  too  late  to  change  it ;  or,  in  the  ardor 
of  invention,  diftlise  his  thoughts  into  wild 
exuberance,  which  the  pressing  law  of  publi- 
cation cannot  suffer  judgment  to  examine  or 
reduce."  *  Yet,  in  perusing  The  Rambler, 
who  can  discover  the  obstructions  so  feel- 
ingly lamented  in  this  passage — the  dissi- 
pated attention  —  the  embarrassed  memory 
—  or  the  distracted  mind  ?  That  the  author's 
morbid  melancholy  gave  a  certain  tinge  to 
his  sentiments  may  be  frequently  discovered  ; 
but,  as  compositions,  we  can  discover  in  them 
no  defects  that  are  not  common  to  those  who, 
though  writing  at  ease,  write  rapidly,  and 
without  revision.  This  remark,  however,  ap- 
plies only  to  what  is  not  now  before  the  pub- 
lic, the  first  edition  of  these  papers,  and  will 
be  more  amply  illustrated  hereafter. 

The  Rambler  made  its  way  very  slowly 
into  the  world.  All  scholars,  all  men  of  taste, 
saw  its  excellence  at  once,  and  crowded  round 
the  author  to  solicit  his  friendship,  and  relieve 
his  anxieties.  It  procured  him  a  multitude 
of  friends  and  admirers  among  men  distin- 
guished for  rank  as  well  as  genius ;  and,  if 
the  expression  be  pardonable,  it  constituted 
an  ample  and  perpetual  apology  for  that  rug- 

*  Rambler,  last  paper. 


ged  and  uncourtly  manner  Avhich  sometimes 
rendered  his  conversation  formidable,  and  to 
those  who  looked  from  the  book  to  the  man, 
presented  a  contrast  that  would  no  doubt  fre- 
quently excite  amazement.  The  ditlerence, 
however,  between  an  author  and  his  writings, 
and  the  folly  of  expecting  that  the  graces  of 
style  and  of  manners  should  be  inseparable, 
are  illustrated  by  himself  in  a  comparison, 
perhaps  one  of  the  most  striking  in  the  Eng- 
lisli  language.  "  A  transition  from  an  author's 
book  to  his  conversation,  is  too  often  like  an 
entrance  into  a  large  city,  after  a  distant 
prospect.  Remotely,  we  see  nothing  but 
spires  of  temples,  and  turrets  of  palaces, 
and  imagine  it  the  residence  of  splendor, 
grandeur,  and  magnificence  ;  but,  when  we 
have  passed  the  gates,  we  find  it  perplexed 
with  narrow  passages,  disgraced  with  des- 
picable cottages,  embarrassed  with  obstruc- 
tions, and  clouded  with  smoke."  * 

Such,  indeed,  was  his  fate  when  viewed 
with  common  eyes,  when  visited  by  those 
who  said  they  admired,  but  could  not  love 
him;  and  who  did  not  discover  that  the  love 
which  is  fixed  upon  superficial  accomplish- 
ments, in  preference  to  vigor  of  mind  and 
imagination,  was  not  that  which  Dr.  John- 
son would  court.  Still,  it  must  be  confessed, 
there  were,  at  first,  many  prejudices  against 
The  Rambler  to  be  overcome.     The  style  was 

*  Rambler,  No.  14. 


new ;  it  appeared  harsh,  involved,  and  per- 
plexed ;  it  required  more  than  a  transitory 
inspection  to  be  understood ;  it  did  not  suit 
those  who  run  as  they  read,  and  who  seldom 
return  to  a  book  if  the  hour  which  it  helped 
to  dissipate  can  be  dissipated  by  more  active 
pleasures.  When  reprinted  in  volumes,  how- 
ever, the  sale  gradually  increased :  it  was 
recommended  by  the  friends  of  religion  and 
lierature,  as  a  book  by  which  a  man  might 
be  taught  to  think ;  and  the  author  lived  to 
see  ten  large  editions  printed  in  England,  be- 
sides those  which  were  clandestinely  printed 
in  other  parts  of  Great  Britain,  in  Ireland, 
and  in  America.  Since  his  death,  at  least 
ten  more  may  be  added  to  this  number. 

Of  the  characters  described  in  The  Rambler, 
some  were  not  altogether  fictitious.  Pros- 
pero,  in  No.  200,  was  intended  for  Garrick; 
although  the  character  is  heightened  some- 
what beyond  nature,  which  is  frequently 
necessary  to  make  vanity  more  ridiculous. 
Yet,  notwithstanding  the  vast  disproportion 
in  their  fates,  for  which,  if  there  was  any 
blame,  it  rested  with  the  public,  Dr.  Johnson 
would  not  tamely  suffer  Garrick's  character 
to  be  injured,  while  he  reserved  to  himself  the 
privilege  of  laughing  at  his  foibles ;  and  the 
concluding  passage  of •  tlie  paper  in  question, 
was  probably  written  from  a  consciousness 
that  there  was  more  of  temper  than  judgment 
in  the  character  drawn  by  Asper. 

It  is  singular  that  Swift,  likewise,  had  a 

BIOGIlArilK  AL    I'UIU'ACE.  21 

friend  on  whose  success  in  life  he  coukl  not 
always  look  with  complacency.  "  Stratford, 
(a  merchant,)  is  worth  a  plum,  and  is  now 
lending  the  government  X40,000,  yet  we  were 
educated  together  at  the  same  school  and 
university."  *  Budgell  in  Spectator,  No.  3-33, 
thus  describes  these  school-fellows  :  "  One  of 
them  was  not  only  thought  an  impenetrable 
blockhead  at  school,  but  still  maintained  his 
reputation  at  the  university  ;  the  other  was 
the  pride  of  his  master,  and  the  most  cele- 
brated person  in  the  college  of  which  he  w^as 
a  member.  The  man  of  genius  is  at  present 
buried  in  a  country  parsonage  of  eight  score 
pounds  a  year  ;  while  the  other,  with  the  bare 
abilities  of  a  comjnon  scrivener,  has  got  an 
estate  of  above  an  hundred  thousand  pounds." 
But  these  inequalities  are  too  common,  and 
too  well  sanctioned,  to  be  removed  either  by 
complaint  or  envy.  Whoever  is  ambitious 
of  literary  fame  must  be  content  with  the 
terms  on  which  the  world  has  been  pleased 
to  grant  it;  and  this  Johnson  knew,  for  no 
man  ever  complained  less  of  public  neglect. 

Mrs.  Piozzi  in  forms  us  that  by  Ge/idus,  the 
philosopher,  No.  24,  the  author  meant  to 
represent  Mr.  Coulson,  a  mathematician,  who 
formerly  lived  at  Rochester.  The  man  "  im- 
mortalized for  purring  like  a  cat,"  was  one 
Busby,  a  proctor  in  the  Commons.  He  who 
barked   so    ingeniously,  and   then   called   the 

«  Swift's  Work?,  vol.  22,  p.  10.  cr.  oct. 


drawer  to  drive  away  the  dog,  was  father  to 
Dr.  Salter  of  the  Charter-house.  He  who 
sung  a  song,  and  by  coiTespondent  motions 
of  his  arm  chalked  out  a  giant  on  the  wall, 
was  one  Richardson,  an  attorney.  For  these 
assignments  I  know  of  no  other  authority. 
Dr.  Salter,  senior,  when  Dr.  Johnson  became 
acquainted  with  him,  was  a  man  of  seventy 
years,  and  a  member  of  the  Ivy-lane  Club. 
He  had,  probably,  told  the  company  that  this 
barking  like  a  dog  was  a  trick  of  his  youth, 
and  Johnson  might  introduce  it  without  any 
disrespect  to  his  friend.  Mr.  Boswell  has 
heard  him  relate,  with  much  satisfaction,  that 
several  of  the  characters  in  The  Rambler  were 
drawn  so  naturally,  that,  when  it  first  circu- 
lated in  numbers,  the  members  of  a  club  in 
one  of  the  towns  in  Essex,  imagined  them- 
selves to  be  severally  exhibited  in  it,  and 
were  much  incensed  against  a  person,  who, 
they  suspected,  had  thus  made  them  objects 
of  public  notice ;  nor  were  they  quieted  till 
authentic  assurance  was  given  them,  that  The 
Rambler  was  written  by  a  person  who  had 
never  heard  of  any  one  of  them.* 

The  Rambler  was  reprinted  in  London,  in 
six  volumes,  12mo.,  for  Payne  and  Bouquet, 
1752 ;  and  about  the  same  time  an  edition 
was  published  in  Scotland,  of  which  Mr.  Bos- 
well gives  the  following  account. 

*  Polyphilus,  in  No.  19,  is  said  to  have  been  drawn  from  the 
vari(nis  studies  of  Floyer  Sydeniiam,  but  no  produce  of  his 
studies  is  known,  except  his  translations. 


"  Mr.  James  Elphinstono,  -who  lias  since 
published  various  works,  and  who  was  ever 
esteemed  by  Johnson  as  a  worthy  man,  hap- 
pened to  be  in  Scotland  when  The  Rambler 
was  coming  out  in  single  papers  at  London. 
With  a  laudable  zeal,  at  once,  for  the  improve- 
ment of  his  countrymen,  and  the  reputation  of 
his  friend,  he  suggested  and  took  the  charge 
of  an  edition  of  those  Essays,  at  Edinburgh, 
which  followed,  progressively,  the  London 
publication.  It  was  executed  in  the  printing- 
oliice  of  Sands,  IMurray,  and  Cochran,  with 
uncommon  elegance,  upon  writing-paper,  of 
a  duodecimo  size,  and  with  the  greatest  cor- 
rectness ;  and  ^Ir.  Elphinstone  enriched  it 
with  translations  of  the  mottoes.  When  com- 
pleted, it  made  eight  handsome  volumes.  It 
is,  unquestionably,  the  most  accurate  and 
beautiful  edition  of  this  work ;  and  there 
being  but  a  small  impression,  it  is  now  be- 
come scarce,  and  sells  at  a  very  high  price." 

This  account  is  not  given  with  Mr.  Bos- 
well's  usual  precision  in  matters  of  fact. 
Either  he  never  saw  this  Edinburgh  edition, 
or  he  never  took  the  trouble  to  compare  a 
single  page  of  it  with  any  London  edition,  in 
order  to  ascertain  the  great  accuracy  which 
he  extols.  That  it  is  a  publication  distin- 
guished for  typographical  beauty,  is  undeni- 
able, but  it  is  a  literal  copy  of  the  folio 
Raml)ler,  without  one  of  the  many  thousand 
alterations,  which  Dr.  Jolmson  made  in  the 
Lontlon   second   and  third  editions.      These 


alterations,  indeed,  form  a  part  of  the  history 
of  this  work,  with  which  Mr.  Boswell  appears 
to  have  been  totally  unacquainted ;  nor  have 
I  found  any  of  the  few  surviving  friends  of 
the  author  aware  of  it.  The  circumstance, 
however,  is  of  such  importance  as  to  require 
some  detail.  It  is  something  to  have  gleaned 
a  new  fact  after  sq  careful  an  inquirer  as  Mr. 

The  general  opinion  entertained  by  Dr. 
Johnson's  friends  was,  that  he  wrote  as  cor- 
rectly and  elegantly  in  haste,  and  under 
various  obstructions  of  person  and  situation, 
as  other  men  can,  who  have  health,  and  ease, 
and  leisure  for  the  limce  labor. 

Mr.  Boswell  says,  with  great  truth,  that 
"  Posterity  will  be  astonished  when  they  are 
told,  upon  the  authority  of  Johnson  himself, 
that  many  of  these  discourses,  which  we 
should  suppose  had  been  labored  with  all  the 
slow  attention  of  literary  leisure,  were  written 
in  haste,  as  the  moment  pressed,  without  even 
being  read  over  by  him  before  they  were 
printed.  It  can  be  accounted  for  only  in  this 
way  :  that  by  reading  and  meditation,  and  a 
very  close  inspection  of  life,  he  had  accumu- 
lated a  great  fund  of  miscellaneous  know- 
ledge, which,  by  a  peculiar  promptitude  of 
mind,  was  ever  ready  at  his  call,  and  which 
he  .had  constantly  accustomed  himself  to 
clothe  in  the  most  apt  and  energetic  expres- 
sion. Sir  Joshua  Reynolds  once  asked  him 
bv  what  means  he  had  attained  his  extra- 


ordinary  accuracy  and  flow  of  language.  He 
told  him  that  he  had  early  laid  it  down,  as  a 
fixed  rule,  to  do  Ins  best  on  every  occasion, 
and  in  every  company:  to  impart  whatever 
he  knew,  in  the  most  forcible  language  he 
could  put  it  in ;  and  that  by  constant  prac- 
tice, and  never  suffering  any  careless  expres- 
sions to  escape  him,  or  attempting  to  deliver 
his  thouo^hts  without  arransrins:  them  in  the 
clearest  manner^  it  became  habitual  to  him."* 
Mr.  Boswell  afterwards  remarks  that  those 
Essays,  for  which  the  author  had  made  no 
preparation,  in  his  Adversaria^  or  Common- 
place-book, "  are  as  rich  and  as  highl//  finish- 
ed as  those  for  which  hints  were  lying  by 

Sir  John  Hawkins  informs  us,  that  these 
Essays  hardly  ever  underwent  a  revision 
before  they  were  sent  to  the  press,  and  adds, 
"  The  original  manuscripts  of  The  Rambler 
have  passed  through  my  hands,  and  by  the 
perusal  of  them,  1  am  warranted  to  say,  as 
was  said  of  Shakspeare  by  the  players  of  his 
time,  that  he  never  blotted  out  a  line^  and  I 
believe  w^ithout  the  risk  of  that  retort  which 
Ben  Jonson  made  to  them,  '  Would  he  had 
blotted  out  a  thousand.' "  | 

*  Life  of  Johnson,  vol.  i,  p.  178-9,  2d.  edit.  t  Ibid. 

X  Hawkins,  p.  381,  which  is  confirmed  by  the  followiiiji;  pas- 
sage in  Boswell's  Life,  vol.  ii.  p.  405.  Johnson  "  told  us,  ahriost 
Jill  his  Ramblers  were  written  just  as  they  were  wanted  for  the 
press;  that  he  sent  a  certain  portion  of  the  copy  of  an  essay, 
and  wrote  the  remainder,  while  the  former  jjart  of  it  was  print- 
ing. When  it  was  wanted,  and  he  had  fairly  sat  down  to  it,  ho 
was  sure  it  would  be  done." 


Mr.  Murphy,  a  more  agreeable  authority 
on  a  question  of  taste  and  composition, 
classes  Dr.  Johnson  among  those  writers 
who,  using  his  own  words  in  his  Ufe  of  Pope, 
"  employ  at  once  memory  and  invention,  and 
with  little  intermediate  use  of  the  pen,  form 
and  polish  large  masses  by  continued  medita- 
tion, and  write  their  productions  only  when, 
in  their  opinion,  they  have  completed  them. 
This  last,"  Mr.  Murphy  adds,  "  was  Johnson's 
method.  He  never  took  his  pen  in  hand  till 
he  had  well  weighed  his  subject,  and  grasped 
in  his  mind  the  sentiments,  the  train  of  argu- 
ment, and  the  arrangement  of  the  whole.  As 
he  often  thought  aloud,  he  had,  perhaps, 
talked  it  over  to  himself.  This  may  account 
for  that  rapidity  with  which,  in  general,  he 
dispatched  his  sheets  to  the  press,  without 
being  at  the  trouble  of  a  fair  copy."* 

Such  are  the  opinions  of  those  friends  of 
Dr.  Johnson  who  had  long  lived  in  his  society, 
had  studied  his  writings,  and  were  eager  to 
give  to  the  public  every  information  by  which 
its  curiosity  to  know  the  history  of  so  emi- 
nent a  character  might  be  gratified.  But  by 
what  fatality  it  has  happened  that  they  were 
ignorant  of  the  vast  labour  Dr.  Johnson  em- 
ployed in  correcting  this  work  after  it  came 
from  the  first  press,  it  is  not  easy  to  deter- 
mine. This  circumstance,  indeed,  might  not 
fall  within  the  scope  of  Mr.  Murphy's  elegant 

*  Murphy's  Essay  on  the  Life  aud  Genius  of  Dr.  Johnson, 
p.  103,  edit.  1793. 

BIOGRArillCAL    rHEFACE.  27 

Essay ;  but  had  it  been  known  to  Sir  Jolin 
Hawkins,  or  to  Mr.  Boswell,  they  would,  un- 
doubtedly, have  been  eager  to  bring  it  forward 
as  an  important  event  in  Dr.  Johnson's  liter- 
ary history.  Mr.  Boswell  has  given  us  some 
various  readings  of  the  "  Lives  of  the  Poets," 
and  the  reader  will  probably  agree  with  him, 
that  although  the  author's  "  amendments  in 
that  work  are  for  the  better,  there  is  nothing 
of  the  pannus  afflatus  ;  the  texture  is  uniform, 
and,  indeed,  what  had  been  there  at  first  is 
very  seldom  unfit  to  have  remained."  *  At 
the  conclusion  of  these  various  readings,  he 
offers  an  apology,  of  which  I  may  be  permit- 
ted to  avail  myself. — "  Should  it  be  objected, 
that  many  of  my  various  readings  are  incon- 
siderable, those  who  make  the  objection  will 
be  pleased  to  consider,  that  such  small  partic- 
ulars are  intended  for  those  who  are  nicely 
critical  in  composition,  to  whom  they  will  be 
an  acceptable  collection." 

Is  it  not  surprising  that  this  friend  and 
companion  of  our  illustrious  author,  who  has 
obliged  the  public  with  the  most  perfect  deli- 
neation ever  exhibited  of  any  human  being, 

*  These  were  the  alterations  made  by  the  author  in  tlie  man- 
uscript, or  in  the  proof  before  pubhcation  for  tlic  second  eilition. 
Mr.  Hoswell  does  not  seem  to  have  known  that  Dr.  .loluison 
made  so  many  alterations  for  the  third  edition  as  to  induce  Mr. 
Nichols  to  collect  them  in  an  octavo  pamphlet  of  three  sheets 
closely  priyted,  which  was  given  to  the  purchasers  of  the  second 
octavo  edition.  Since  Mr.  Nichols  obligingly  furnished  me  with 
the  history  of  this  j):imj)hlet,  I  have  been  the  less  surjirised  at 
Mr.  lios well's  not  suspecting  the  alterations  in  The  lituubler. 


and  who  declared  so  often  that  he  was  deter- 

To  lose  no  drop  of  that  immortal  man; 

that  one  so  inquisitive  after  the  most  trifling 
circumstance  connected  with  Dr.  Johnson's 
character  or  history,  should  have  never  heard 
or  discovered  that  Dr.  Johnson  almost  rewrote 
The  Rambler  after  the  first  folio  edition  ?  Yet 
the  fact  was,  that  he  employed  the  limcB  labo- 
rem  not  only  on  the  second,  but  on  the  third 
edition,  to  an  extent  I  presume  never  known 
in  the  annals  of  literature,  and  may  be  said 
to  have  carried  Horace's  rule  far  beyond 
either  its  letter  or  spirit : — 

— carmen  reprehendite,  quod  non 
Multa  dies  et  multa  litura  coercuit,  atque 
Perfectixm  decies  non  castigavit  ad  unguem. 

Never  the  verse  approve,  and  hold  as  good, 
'Till  many  a  day  and  many  a  blot  has  wi'ought 
The  polished  work,  and  chasten'd  every  thought, 
By  tenfold  labour  to  perfection  brought.  colman. 

The  alterations  made  by  Dr.  Johnson  in  the 
second  and  third  editions  of  The  Rambler  far 
exceed  six  thousand  ;  a  number  which  may 
perhaps  justify  the  use  of  the  word  rewrote, 
although  it  must  not  be  taken  in.  its  literal 
acceptation.  If  it  be  asked  of  what  nature 
are  these  alterations,  or  why  that  was  altered 
which  the  world  thought  perfect,  the  author 
may  be  allowed  to  answer  for  himself.  Not- 
withstanding its  fame,  while  printing  in  single 


numbers,  the  encomiums  of  the  learned,  and 
the  applause  of  friends,  he  knew  its  imper- 
fections, and  determined  to  remove  them. 
He  foresaw  that  upon  this  foundation  his 
future  fame  would  in  a  great  measure  rest, 
and  he  determined  that  the  superstructure 
thrown  up  in  haste,  should  be  strengthened 
and  perfected  at  leisure.  A  few  passages 
from  No.  169  will  explain  his  sentiments  on 
this  subject. 

"  Men  have  sometimes  appeared  of  such 
transcendent  abilities,  that  their  slightest  and 
most  cursory  performances  excel  all  that  labour 
and  study  can  enable  meaner  intellects  to 
compose  :  as  there  are  regions  of  which  the 
spontaneous  products  cannot  be  equalled  in 
other  soils  by  care  and  culture.  But  it  is  no 
less  dangerous  for  any  man  to  place  himself 
in  this  rank  of  understanding,  and  fancy  that 
he  is  born  to  be  illustrious  witliout  labour,  than 
to  omit  the  cares  of  husbandry,  and  expect 
from  his  ground  the  blossoms  of  Arabia." 
"  iVmong  the  writers  of  antiquity  I  remember 
none,  except  Statins,  who  ventures  to  mention 
the  speedy  production  of  his  writings,  either 
as  an  extenuation  of  his  fault,  or  as  a  proof 
of  his  facility.  Nor  did  Statins,  when  he 
considered  himself  as  a  candidate  for  lasting 
reputation,  think  a  closer  attention  unneces- 
sary, ])ut,  amidst  all  his  i)ride  and  indigence, 
the  two  great  hasteners  of  modern  poems, 
employed  twelve  years  upon  the  Thebaid, 
and  thinks  his  claim  to  renown  proportionate 


to  his  labour."  "  To  him  whose  eagerness  of 
praise  hurries  his  productions  soon  into  the 
light,  many  imperfections  are  unavoidable, 
even  \\rhere  the  mind  furnishes  the  materials, 
as  well  as  regulates  their  disposition,  and 
nothing  depends  upon  search  or  information. 
Delay  opens  new  veins  of  thought,  the  sub- 
ject dismissed  for  a  time  appears  with  a  new 
train  of  dependent  images,  the  accidents  of 
reading  or  conversation  supply  new  orna- 
ments or  allusions,  or  mere  intermission  of 
the  fatigue  of  thinking  enables '  the  mind  to 
collect  new  force,  and  make  new  excursions." 
With  such  sentiments,  it  must  appear  at 
least  probable  that  our  author  would,  in  his 
own  case,  endeavour  to  repair  the  mischiefs 
of  haste  or  negligence  ;  but  as  these  were  not 
very  obvious  to  his  friends,  they  made  no 
inquiry  after  them,  nor  entertained  any  sus- 
picion of  the  labour  he  endured  to  render  his 
wiitings  more  worthy  of  their  praise  ;  and 
when  his  contemporaries  had  departed,  he 
might  not  think  it  necessary  to  tell  a  new 
generation  that  he  had  not  reached  perfection 
at  once.  On  one  occasion,  Mr.  Boswell  came 
so  near  the  question,  that  if  Dr.  Johnson  had 
thought  it  worth  entering  upon,  he  had  a 
very  fan*  opportunity.  Being  asked,  by  a  lady, 
whether  he  thought  he  could  make  his  Ram- 
bler better,  he  answered  that  he  certainly 
could.  Boswell :  '  I'll  lay  you  a  bet.  Sir, 
you  cannot.'  Johnson :  '  But  I  will.  Sir,  if  I 
choose.     I  shall  make  the  best  of  them  you 


shall  pick  out,  better.'  Boswcll',  '  But  you 
may  add  to  them,  I  will  not  allow  of  that.' 
Johnson,  '  Nay,  Sir,  there  are  three  ways  of 
making  them  better ;  putting  out,  adding,  or 

Perhaps,  at  this  moment,  Quintilian's  re- 
marks on  correction  might  have  occmTcd  in 
his  memory.  "  Hujus  operis  est,  adjicere, 
detrahere,  mutare.  Sed  facilius  in  his  sim- 
pliciusque  judicium,  qu£e  replenda  vel  dejici- 
enda  sunt ;  premere  vero  tumentia,  humilia 
extollere,  luxuriantia  astringere,  inordinata 
dirigere,  soluta  componere,  exultantia  co- 
ercere,  duplicis  operae." 

And  these,  indeed,  were  the  instructions 
he  followed,  but  with  such  minute  attention 
to  little  things,  such  fastidious  objection  to 
what  seems  orderly  and  harmonious,  and 
such  copious  omissions  and  additions  as 
probably  never  would  have  appeared  neces- 
sary to  any  mind  but  his  own,  and  may 
justify  our  advancing  aliother  passage  of  The 
Rambler  against  himself :  "  Some  seem 
always  to  read  with  the  microscope  of  criti- 
cism, and  employ  their  whole  attention  upon 
minute  elegance,  or  faults  scarcely  visible  to 
common  observation.  The  dissonance  of  a 
syllable,  the  recurrence  of  the  same  sound, 
the  repetition  of  a  particle,  the  smallest  de- 
viation from  propriety,  the  slightest  defect  in 
construction  or  arrangement,  swell  before  their 
eyes  into  enormities." 

These  are  some  of  the  objects  of  his  cor- 


rectinghand;  but,  as  the  original  folio  is  now 
become  very  scarce,  I  shall  exhibit  a  specimen 
of  the  greater  part  of  his  '  various  readings ' 
and  alterations,  by  the  transcription  of  a 
whole  paper,  marking  by  italics  the  varia- 
tions. This,  to  some,  will  probably  be  accept- 
able as  a  literary  curiosity.  "  Such  relics 
show  how  excellence  is  acquired  ;  what  we 
hope  ever  to  do  with  ease,  we  must  learn 
first  to  do  with  diligence.""*  This  is  my 
sanction  for  exhibiting  the  paper  in  its  original 
state,  and  recommending  a  careful  compari- 
son with  .the  edition  in  these  volumes,  by 
which  it  will  be  found  as  much  to  the  honour 
of  his  industry,  as  to  the  advantage  of  his 
readers,  that  "  he  reformed  his  first  thoughts 
by  subsequent  examination ;  and  polished 
away  those  faults  which  the  precipitance  of 
ardent  composition  is  likely  to  leave  behind 
it."  Let  me  add,  on  the  same  authority,  that 
"  to  those  who  have  skill  to  estimate  the 
excellence  and  difficulty  of  this  great  work, 
it  must  be  very  desirable  to  know  how  it  was 
performed,  and  by  what  gradations  it  ad- 
vanced to  correctness.  Of  such  an  intellect- 
ual process  the  knowledge  has  very  rarely 
been  attainable ;  "  but,  in  the  present  case, 
the  discovery  having  once  been  made,  it  re- 
quires only  the  trouble  of  collation.  What 
om-  author  has  said  of  Pape  may  be  applied, 
with    the    greatest  truth,  to  himself.     "  He 

*  Johnson's  Life  of  Milton. 


laboured  his  works  fu'st  to  gain  reputation,  and 
afterwards  to  keep  it."  "  He  was  not  content 
to  satisfy  ;  he  desired  to  excel,  and  therefore 
always  endeavoured  to  do  his  best;  he  did 
not  court  the  candour,  but  dared  the  judgment 
of  his  readers  ;  and,  expecting  no  indulgence 
from  others,  he  showed  none  to  himself.  He 
examined  lines  and  words  with  minute  and 
])unctilious  observation,  and  retouched  every 
part  with  indefatigable  diligence,  till  he  had 
left  nothing  to  be  forgiven."  But  enough  of 
resemblances  and  authorities. 

ORIGINAL   llAMBLEU,  No.  180. 

It  is  somewhere  related  by  Le  Clerc,  that 
a  wealthy  trader  of  good  understanding,  hav- 
ing the  usual  ambition  to  breed  his  son  a 
scholar,  carried  him  to  an  university,  resolv- 
ing to  make  use  of  his  own  judgment  in  the 
choice  of  a  tutor.  He  had  been  taught,  by 
whatever  intelligence,  the  nearest  way  to  the 
heart  of  an  academic,  and  soon  after  his  arri- 
val opened  his  purse  ivith  so  little  reserve^  and 
entertained  all  who  came  about  him  with 
such  ])rofusion  of  plenty^  that  the  Professors 
were  presently  lured  by  the  smell  of  his  table 
from  their  books,  and  Hocked  round  him  with 
all  the  importunity  of  aukward  complaisance. 
This  eagerness  completely  answered  the  mer- 
chant's purpose ;  he  glutted  them  with  delica- 
cies, he  cheared  them  ivith  tvine,  he  softened 
them  with  caresses,  and  by  des;-rces^  prevailed 
upon  one  after  anotlier  to   open  his  bosom, 

VOL.    XVI.  3 


and  make  a  full  discovery  of  his  schemes  of 
competition  his  alarm  of  jealousy  and  his 
rancour  of  lesentment.  Thus,  after  having- 
long  eyideavoured  to  learn  each  man's  charac- 
ter, partly  from  himself,  and  partly  from  his 
acquaintances,  he  at  last  resolved  to  find 
some  other  method  of  educatmg-  his  son,  and 
went  away  fully  convinced  that  a  scholastic 
life  has  no  other  tendency  than  to  vitiate  the 
morals,  and  contract  the  understanding.  Nor 
could  he  afterwards  bear  with  patience  the 
praises  of  the  ancient  authors,  being  per- 
suaded that  scholars  of  all  ages  must  have 
been  the  same  ;  and  that  Xenophon  and 
Cicero  were  nothing  more  than  Professors 
of  some  former  Universitv,  and  ivere  there- 
fore  mean  and  selfish,  ignorant  and  servile, 
like  those  whom  he  had  lately  visited  and 

Envy,  curiosity,  and  the  sense  of  the  im- 
perfection of  our  present  state,  incline  us 
always  to  estimate  the  advantages  which  are 
in  the  possession  of  others  above  then'  real 
value.  Every  man  must  have  remarked,  what 
powers  and  prerogatives  the  vulgar  imagine 
to  be  conferred  by  learning.  A  man  of  science 
is  expected  to  excel  the  unenlightened  and 
unlettered,  even  on  occasions  where  litera- 
ture is  of  no  use ;  and,  among  weak  minds, 
loses  part  of  his  reverence  by  discovering  no 
superiority  in  those  parts  of  life,  in  which  all 
are  unavoidably  equal ;  as,  when  a  monarch 
makes  a  progress  to  the  remoter  provinces, 


the  rustics  are  said  sometimes  to  wonaer  that 
they  find  him  of  the  same  size  with  them- 

Attempts  to  satisfy  the  demands  of  prejudice 
and  folly,  are  hopeless  and  vain,  and  therefore, 
many  of  the  imputations  which  learning  suf- 
fers from  disappointed  ignorance,  are  without 
reproach.  Nor  can  it  be  denied,  that  there  are 
some  failures  to  which  men  of  study  are  pe- 
culiarly exposed.  Every  condition  has  its 
disadvantages.  The  circle  of  knowledge  is 
too  wide  for  the  most  active  and  diligent  in- 
tellect, and  while  some  sciences  are  pursued 
tvith  ardour,  others,  perhaps  of  equal  use,  are 
necessarili/  neglected;  as  a  small  garrison 
must  leave  one  part  of  an  extensive  fortress 
naked  when  an  alarm  calls  them  to  another. 

The  learned,  however,  might  generally  sup- 
port their  dignity  with  more  success,  if  they 
suft'ered  not  themselves  to  be  misled  by  the 
desire  of  superfluous  attainments,  of  accom- 
plishments which  feio  can  understand,  or  value, 
and  of  s/iilhvhich  they  may  sink  into  the  grave 
tvithout  any  conspicuous  opportunities  of  exert- 
ing. Raphael,  in  return  to  Adam's  inquiries 
into  the  course  of  the  stars,  and  the  revolu- 
tions of  heaven,  counsels  him  to  withdraw 
his  mind  from  idle  speculations,  and,  instead 
of  ivatching  motions  ivhich  he  has  no  power  to 
regulate,  to  employ  his  faculties  upon  nearer 
and  more  interesting  objects,  the  survey  of 
his  own  life,  the  subjection  of  his  passions, 
the  knowledsre  of  those  duties  which  must 


daily  be  performed,  and  the  detection  of  tliose 
dangers  which  must  daily  be  incurred. 

The  angelic  counsel  every  man  of  letters 
should  always  have  before  him.  He  that  de- 
votes himself  to  the  privacies  of  study,  natu- 
rally sinks  from  neglect  to  oblivion  of  social 
duties,  to  which  he  must  be  sometimes  awak- 
ened and  restored  to  the  general  condition  of 

I  am  far  from  any  intention  to  limit  curi- 
osity, or  to  confine  the  labours  of  learning  to 
arts  of  immediate  and  necessary  use.  It  is 
only  from  the  various  essays  of  experimental 
industry,  and  the  vague  excursions  of  minds 
sent  out  upon  discovery,  that  any  advance- 
ment of  knowledge  can  be  expected,  and 
though  many  may  labour  only  to  be  disap- 
pointed, yet  they  are  not  to  be  charged  with 
having  spent  their  time  in  vain  ;  since  their 
example  contributed  to  inspirit  emulation, 
and,  perhaps^  their  miscarriages  taught  others 
the  way  to  success. 

But  the  distant  hope  of  being  one  day  use- 
ful or  eminent,  ought  not  to  mislead  us  from 
that  knowledge^  which  is  equally  requisite  to 
the  great  and  mean,  to  the  celebrated  and 
obscure ;  the  art  of  moderating  the  desires, 
of  repressing  the  appetites,  and  of  conciliat- 
ing or  deserving  the  favour  of  mankind. 

No  man,  surely^  can  think  the  conduct  of 
his  own  life  unworthy  his  attention,  yet, 
among  the  sons  of  learning,  many  may  be 
founds  who  seem  to  have  thought  of  every 


thing  rather  than  of  themselves,  and  have 
never  condescended  to  observe  ivhat  passes 
daily  before  their  eyes.  Men^  who,  ivhile  they 
are  toiling  through  the  intricacy  of  compli- 
cated systems,  are  insuperably  embarrassed 
with  the  least  perplexity  in  common  affairs  ; 
and  luhile  they  are  comparing  the  actions,  and 
ascertaining  the  characters  of  ancient  heroes, 
let  their  days  glide  away  without  examina- 
tion, and  suffer  vicious  habits  to  encroach 
upon  their  minds  without  resistance  or  detec- 

One  o/the  most  frequent  reproaches  of  the 
scholastic  race  is  the  want  of  fortitude,  of 
fortitude^  not  martial,  but  philosophic.  That 
men  bred  in  shades  and  silence,  taught  to 
immure  themselves  at  sunset,  and  accustom- 
ed to  no  other  weapon  than  syllogisms,  should 
be  easily  terrified  by  personal  danger,  and 
disconcerted  by  tumult  and  alarm,  is  by  no 
means  ivonderful.  But  why  should  not  he, 
whose  life  is  spent  in  contemplation,  and 
whose  business  is  only  to  discover  truth,  be 
able  to  rectify  the  fallacies  of  imagination, 
and  contend  successfully  against  prejudice 
and  passion  ?  Why  should  he  give  up  his 
understanding  to  false  appearances,  and  suf- 
fer himself,  like  the  meanest  of  the  vulgar, 
to  be  dazzled  with  the  glitter  of  prosperity,  to 
be  enslaved  by  fear  of  evils,  to  which  only 
folly  or  vanity  can  expose  him,  or  elated  by 
hope  of  advantages  luhich  can  add  nothing 
to  a  wise  man,  and  to  which,  as   they   are 


equally  conferred  upon  the  good  and  bad,  no 
real  dignity  is  annexed. 

Such,  however,  is  the  state  of  the  world, 
that  the  most  obsequious  of  the  slaves  of 
pride,  the  most  rapturous  of  the  gazers  upon 
wealth,  the  most  officious  of  the  whisperers 
of  greatness,  are  to  he  collected  from  these 
seminaries,  ivhich  are  appropriated  to  the 
study  of  wisdom,  and  the  contemplation  of 
virtue,  in  which  it  was  intended,  that  the 
appetite  should  learn  to  be  content  with 
little,  and  hope  to  aspire  to  honours  which 
no  human  power  can  give  or  take  away. 

The  student  when  he  comes  forth  into  the 
world,  instead  of  congratulating  himself  upon 
his  exemption  from  the  errors  and  failures  to 
which  he  sees  those  liable  whose  opinions  have 
not  been  formed  by  precept  and  meditation^  is 
commonly  in  haste  to  shake  from  him  all  that 
distinguishes  him  from  the  rest  of  mankind^ 
to  mingle  with  the  multitude,  and  show  his 
sprightliness  and  ductility  by  an  expeditious 
compliance  with  fashions,  pleasures^  or  vices. 
The  first  smile  of  a  man  whose  rank  or  fortune 
gives  him  power  to  reward  his  dependents, 
commonly  enchants  him  beyond  resistance : 
the  glare  of  equipage,  the  sweets  of  luxury, 
the  liberality  of  general  promises,  and  softness 
of  habitual  affability,  strike  his  senses^  and  fill 
his  imagination,  and  he  soon  ceases  to  have 
any  other  wish  than  to  be  well  received,  or 
any  measure  of  right  and  wrong  than  the 
opinion  of  his  patron. 


A  man  flattered  and  obeyed,  soon  learns  to 
exact  grosser  adulation,  and  enjoin  lower  sub- 
mission. Neither  our  virtues  nor  vices  are  all 
our  own  :  if  there  were  no  cowardice,  there 
would  be  little  insolence  :  a  man  cannot  gi'oiv 
proud  to  any  great  degree,  but  by  the  concur- 
rence of  blandishment,  or  the  sufferance  of 
tameness.  The  wretch  that  would  shrink  and 
crouch  before  hlni  that  should  dart  his  eye 
upon  him  with  the  spirit  of  natural  equality, 
quick///  becomes  capricious  and  tyrannical 
when  he  seems  himself  approached,  with  a 
downcast  look,  and  hears  the  soft  address  of 
awe  and  servility.  To  the  folly  0/ those  who 
are  willing  to  purchase  favour  and  preferment 
by  cringes  and  compliance,  is  to  be  imputed 
that  general  depravity  that  leaves  nothing  to 
be  hoped  by  firmness  and  integrity. 

If  instead  of  wandering  after  the  meteors  of 
philosophy  which  till  the  world  with  splendour 
for  a  while,  and  then  sink  and  are  forgotten, 
the  candidates  of  learning  iro^/Zc/y/.f  their  eyes 
upon  the  permanent  and  immutable  lustre  of 
moral  truth,  they  would  find  a  more  certain 
direction  to  honour  and  to  happiness.  A  little 
power  of  discourse,  and  a  little  acquaintance 
with  unnecessary  speculation,  is  dearly  pur- 
chased when  it  excludes  those  instructions 
which  fortify  the  heart  with  resolution,  and 
exalt  the  spirit  to  independence. 

The  limits  of  this  preface  will  not  allow  me 
to  add  much  to  the  above  specimen,  yet  to 


those  who  have  studied  the  varieties  of  Dr. 
Johnson's  style  at  different  periods  of  his  life, 
the  following  will  appear  characteristic.  It  is 
the  translation,  in  No.  48,  from  the  fragment 
of  a  Greek  poet. 

"  Health,  most  venerable  of  the  powers  of 
heaven  !  with  thee  may  the  remaining  part  of 
my  life  be  spent :  nor  do  thou  refuse  to  cohabit 
with  me.  For  whatever  there  is  of  beauty  or 
of  pleasure  in  wealth,  in  descendants,  in  sove- 
reign command,  the  highest  summit  of  human 
enjoyment,  or  in  those  objects  of  desire  which 
we  endeavour  to  chase  into  the  toils  of  love ; 
whatever  delight,  or  whatever  solace  is  afforded 
by  the  celestials /or  the  relief  of  the  fatigues  of 
man;  in  thy  presence,  thou  parent  of  happi- 
ness !  joys  spread  out  and  flourish  ;  in  thy 
presence  blooms  the  spring  of  pleasure,  and 
without  thee  no  man  is  blestJ^  In  the  second 
edition  these  last  words  were  altered  to  there 
is  no  gladness,  but  in  the  thkd  to  no  man  is 

The  following  short  passage  is  given  as 
containing  corrections  which  are  not  merely 

Treating  of  that  gi-eat  peculiarity  of  Milton's 
versification,  the  suppression  of  the  last  sylla- 
ble of  a  word  ending  with  a  vowel,  when  a 
vowel  begins  the  following  word,  No.  88,  he 
remarks ; 

"  This  license,  though  an  innovation  in  Eng- 
lish poetry,  is  yet  allowed  in  many  other  lan- 
guages, ancient  and  modern,  and  therefore  the 


critics  on  Paradise  Lost,  have,  without  much 
deliberation,  commended  Milton  for  introduc- 
ing it."  Instances  of  this  kind,  however,  are 
very  rare,  the  greatest  proportion  of  alterations 
being  those  of  language. 

After  these  extracts,  which,  if  I  do  not  de- 
ceive myself,  exhibit  this  writer  in  a  character 
that  has,  for  whatever  reason,  escaped  the  in- 
quiries of  his  biogi'aphers,  little  remains  to  be 
said  on  the  history  of  The  Rambler.  When 
it  had  passed  two  or  three  editions,  an  index 
was  thought  of,  but  this  being  a  task  unwor- 
thy of  its  author's  talents,  who  was  not  of  the 
opinion  given  by  an  old  Spanish  waiter — indi- 
ceni  libri  ab  autorc^  libruni  ipsum  a  quovis  alio 
confide tidnm — the  Rev.  Mr.  Flexman,  an  in- 
dex-maker by  profession,  was  employed.  Of 
his  success,  Mr.  BosweJl  has  given  an  anecdote, 
which  is  worth  transcribing,  as  an  additional 
proof  of  what  has  been  often  contested,  Dr. 
Johnson's  high  veneration  for  Milton : — 

"  Johnson  would  sometimes  found  his  dis- 
likes on  very  slender  circumstances.  Happen- 
ing one  day  to  mention  Mr.  Flexman,  a  dis- 
senting minister,  with  some  compliment  to  his 
exact  memory  in  chronological  matters,  the 
doctor  repUed  :  '  Let  me  hear  no  more  of  him, 
Sir ;  that  is  the  fellow  who  made  the  index 
to  my  Ramblers,  and  set  down  the  name  of 
Milton  thus:  Milton,  Mr.  Jolinr' 

If  Mr.  Boswell  had  examined  this  index, 
he  would  have  discovered  anotlicr  gross 
breach  of  the  courtesy  of  literature,  no  less 


than — Shakspeare,  Mr.  William;  and  both 
have  been  retained  in  every  edition,  except 
the  present.  Besides  the  barbarism  of-  any 
appendage  to  names  which  are  doomed,  by 
the  general  opinion  of  mankind,  to  stand  alone, 
Flexman,  in  these  instances,  erred  against  the 
principles  of  index-making  by  introducing 
what  was  not  to  be  found  in  the  body  of  the 
work  ;  and  he  ought  to  have  known  that  the 
honours  of  the  surname  were  given  to  Shaks- 
peare and  Milton  at  least  half  a  century  be- 

The  mottoes  of  The  Rambler  were  translat- 
ed soon  after  its  first  publication  in  the  Gentle- 
man's Magazine,  partly  from  the  Edinburgh 
edition,  above  mentioned,  partly  by  the  author, 
and  partly  by  the  Rev.  F.  Lewis,  of  Chiswick, 
whom  Dr.  Johnson  described  thus,  to  Mr. 
Ma] one  :  "  Sir,  he  lived  in  London,  and  hung 
loose  upon  society."  Some  of  the  original 
mottoes  were  changed  in  the  second  edition 
for  others  more  appropriate.* 

On  the  general  merit  of  this  work,  it  is 
now  unnecessary  to  expatiate :  the  prejudices 
which  were  alarmed  by  a  new  style  and  man- 
ner have  long  subsided;  critics  and  gram- 
marians have  pointed  out  what  they  thought 
defective,  or  dangerous  for  imitation ;  and  al- 
though a  new  set  of  objectors  have  appeared 

*  Dr.  Warton  was  of  opinion  that  the  mottoes  prefixed  to 
the  Ramblers  and  Adventurers  were  not  very  happy,  and  that 
the  attempt  to  translate  them  was  absurd.  Mr.  Payne,  the  pub- 
lisher, expresses  the  same  sentiments  in  a  letter  to  Dr.  Warton 
now  before  me. 


since  the  author's  death,  the  world  has  not 
been  much  swayed  in  its  opinions  by  that 
hostility  which  is  restrained  until  it  can  be 
vented  with  impunity.  The  few  laboured  and 
perhaps  pedantic  sentences  which  occur,  have 
been  selected  and  repeated  with  incessant 
malignity,  but  without  the  power  of  depre- 
ciation ;  and  they  who  have  thus  found  John- 
son to  be  obscure  and  unintelligible,  might, 
with  similar  partiality,  celebrate  Shakspeare 
only  for  his  puns  and  his  quibbles.  Luckily, 
however,  for  the  taste  and  improvement  of 
the  age,  these  objections  are  not  very  prev- 
alent ;  and  the  general  opinion,  founded  on 
actual  observation,  is,  that  although  Dr.  John- 
son is  not  to  be  imitated  with  perfect  success, 
yet  the  attempt  to  imitate  him,  where  it  has 
neither  been  servile  nor  artificial,  has  elevated 
the  style  of  every  species  of  literary  composi- 
tion. In  every  thing,  we  perceive  more  vigour, 
more  spirit,  more  elegance.  He  not  only  be- 
gan a  revolution  in  our  language,  but  lived 
till  it  was  almost  completed. 

With  respect  to  the  plan  of  The  Rambler, 
he  may  surely  be  said  to  have  executed  what 
he  intended :  he  has  successfully  attempted 
the  propagation  of  truth ;  and  boldly  main- 
tained the  dignity  of  virtue.  He  has  accu- 
mulated in  this  work  a  treasure  of  moral 
science,  which  will  not  be  soon  exhausted. 
He  has  laboured  to  refine  our  language  to 
grammatical  purity,  and  to  clear  it  from  col- 
loquial barbarisms,  licentious  idioms,  and  ir- 


regular  combinations.  Something  he  cer- 
tainly has  added  to  the  elegance  of  its  con- 
struction, and  something  to  the  harmony  of 
its  cadence.* 

Comparisons  have  been  formed  between 
The  Rambler  and  its  predecessors,  or  rather 
between  the  genius  of  Johnson  and  of  Addi- 
son, but  have  generally  ended  in  discovering 
a  total  want  of  resemblance.  As  they  were 
both  original  writers,  they  must  be  tried,  if 
tried  at  all,  by  laws  applicable  to  their  respec- 
tive attributes.  But  neither  had  a  prede- 
cessor. We  can  find  no  humour  like  Addi- 
son's ;  no  energy  and  dignity  like  Johnson's. 
They  had  nothing  in  common,  but  moral  ex- 
cellence of  character;  they  could  not  have 
exchanged  styles  for  an  hour.  Yet  there  is 
one  respect  in  which  we  must  give  Addison 
the  preference,  more  general  utility.  His 
writings  would  have  been  understood  at  any 
period ;  Johnson's  would  have,  perhaps,  been 
unintelligible  a  century  ago,  and  are  calcu- 
lated for  the  more  improved  and  liberal  edu- 
cation now  so  common.  In  both,  however, 
what  was  peculiar,  was  natural.  The  earliest 
of  Dr.  Johnson's  works  confirm  this ;  from 
the  moment  he  could  write  at  all,  he  wrote  in 
stately  periods ;  and  his  conversation,  from 
first  to  last,  abounded  in  the  peculiarities  of 
his  composition.  In  general  we  may  say, 
with  Seneca,   Riget   ejus  oratio,  nihil  in  ea 

*  Kambler,  last  paper. 


placidum,  nihil  lene.  Addison's  style  was  the 
direct  reverse  of  this.  —  If  the  "  Lives  of  the 
Poets"  be  thought  an  exception  to  Dr.  John- 
son's general  habit  of  Avriting,  let  it  be  re- 
membered that  he  was,  for  the  most  part,  con- 
fined to  dates  and  facts,  to  illustrations  and 
criticisms,  and  quotations ;  but  when  he  in- 
dulged himself  in  moral  reflections,  to  which 
he  delighted  to  recur,  we  have  again  the  rigor 
and  loftiness  of  The  Rambler,  and  only  miss 
some  of  what  have  been  termed  his  liard 

Addison  principally  excelled  in  the  obser- 
vation of  manners,  and  in  that  exquisite  ridi- 
cule he  threw  on  the  minute  improprieties  of 
life.  Johnson,  although  by  no  means  igno- 
rant of  life  and  manners,  could  not  descend 
to  familiarities  with  tuckers  and  commodes, 
with  fans  and  hoop-petticoats.  A  scholar  by 
profession,  and  a  writer  from  necessity,  he 
loved  to  bring  forward  subjects  so  near  and 
dear  as  the  disappointments  of  authors  —  the 
dangers  and  miseries  of  literary  eminence  — 
anxieties  of  literature  —  contrariety  of  criti- 
cism —  miseries  of  patronage  —  value  of 
fame  —  causes  of  the  contempt  of  the  learn- 
ed—  prejudices  and  caprices  of  criticism  — 
vanity  of  an  author's  expectations  —  mean- 
ness of  dedication  —  necessity  of  literary 
courage ;  and  all  those  other  subjects  which 
relate  to  authors  and  their  connection  with 
the  public.  Sometimes  whole  j)apers  are  de- 
voted to  what  may  be  termed  the  personal 


concerns  of  men  of  literature ;  and  incidental 
reflections  are  everywhere  interspersed  for  the* 
instruction  or  caution  of  the  same  class.* 

When  he  treats  of  common  life  and  man- 
ners, it  has  been  observed  that  he  gives  to 
the  lowest  of  his  correspondents  the  same 
style  and  lofty  periods ;  and  it  may  also  be 
noticed,  that  the  ridicule  he  attempts  is,  in 
some  cases,  considerably  heightened  by  this 
very  want  of  accommodation  of  character. 
Yet  it  must  be  allowed  that  the  levity  and 
giddiness  of  coquets  and  fine  ladies  are  ex- 
pressed with  great  difficulty  in  the  Johnsonian 
language.  It  has  been  objected,  also,  that 
even  the  names  of  his  ladies  have  very  little 
of  the  air  either  of  court  or  city,  as  Zosima, 
•Properantia,  &c.  Every  age  seems  to  have 
its  peculiar  names  of  fiction.  In  the  Specta- 
tor's time,  the  Damons  and  Phillises,  the 
Amintors,  Amandas,  and  Cleoras,  &c.,  were 
the  representatives  of  every  virtue  and  every 
folly.  These  were  succeeded  by  the  Phila- 
monts,  Tenderillas,  Timoleons,  Seomanthes, 
Pantheas,  Adrastas,  and  Bellimantes ;  names 
to  which  Mrs.  Heywood  gave  currency  in  her 
Female  Spectator ;  and  from  which,  at  no 
great  distance  of  time,  Dr.  Johnson  appears 
to  have  taken  his  Zephyrettas,  Trypheruses, 
Nitellas,  Misotheas,  Vagarios,  and  Flirtillas. 

*  In  No,  141,  he  alludes  to  the  fatigue  of  the  Dictionary, 
which  he  was  at  that  time  compiling:  "  The  rower  in  time 
reaches  the  port,  the  lexicographer  at  last  finds  the  conclusion 
of  his  alphabet;  "  which,  however,  he  did  not  find  until  three 
years  after  this  date. 


His  first  attempt  at  characteristic  familiar- 
ity, occurs  in  No.  12,  in  a  letter  from  a  young 
girl,  who  wants  a  place ;  and,  in  my  opinion, 
it  is  the  most  successful ;  the  style  is  seldom 
turgid,  and  it  has  a  considerable  portion  of 
humour;  a  quality  in  which  it  is  now  acknow- 
ledged Dr.  Johnson  excelled,  although  one  of 
his  biographers  seems  to  think  he  did  not 
know  it.*  It  was  a  considerable  time  before 
I  was  fully  convinced  that  Dr.  Johnson  wrote 
this  letter,  so  little  appears  of  his  usual  man- 
ner :  it  attacks  a  species  of  cruelty  which  he 
could  not  often  have  witnessed;  and  when 
he  came  to  revise  the  original  Ramblers,  he 
made  fewer  alterations  in  this,  than  in  any 
other ;  a  delicacy  which  he  always  observed 
with  regard  to  his  correspondents.  But  the 
paper  is  undoubtedly  his,  and  evinces  an  ac- 
curate observation  of  common  life. 

With  respect  to  humour,  the  following  pa- 
pers may  be  enumerated,  as  pregnant  proofs 
that  he  possessed  that  quality :  No.  46,  on 
the  mischiefs  of  rural  faction ;  51,  on  the 
employments  of  a  housewife  in  the  country ; 
59,  Suspirus,  or  the  human  screech-owl,  from 
which  Dr.  Goldsmith  took  his  character  of 
Croaker  ;  61,  a  Londoner's  visit  to  the  coun- 
try;  73,  the  lingering  expectation  of  an  heir; 
82,  the  virtuoso's  account  of  his  rarities ; 
101,  a  proper  audience  necessary  to  a  wit; 
113,  115,  history  of  Hymenoeus's  courtship; 

*  Murphy,  p.  159. 


116,  the  young  trader's  attempt  at  polite- 
ness ;  117,  the  advantages  of  living  in  a  gar- 
ret ;  119,  Tranquilla's  account  of  her  lovers  ; 
123,  the  young  trader  turned  gentleman  ;  138, 
the  character  of  Mrs.  Busy ;  141,  the  charac- 
ter of  Papilius  ;  157,  the  scholar's  complaint 
of  his  own  bashfulness  ;  161,  the  revolutions 
of  a  garret ;  165,  the  impotence  of  wealth, 
the  visit  of  Serotinus  to  the  place  of  his  na- 
tivity ;  177,  an  account  of  a  club  of  antiqua- 
ries ;  192,  love  unsuccessful  without  riches  ; 
197,  198,  the  history  of  a  legacy-hunter ;  200, 
Asper's  complaint  of  the  insolence  of  Pros- 
pero ;  and  206,  the  art  of  living  at  the  cost 
of  others.  If  these  papers  are  not  allowed 
to  contain  humour,  if  the  characters  are  not 
drawn  and  the  stories  related  with  that  qual- 
ity which  forces  a  smile  at  the  expense  of 
absurdity,  and  delights  the  imagination  by 
the  juxtaposition  of  unexpected  images  and 
allusions,  it  will  be  ditlicult  to  say  where 
genuine  humour  is  to  be  found.  If  it  has  not 
the  ease,  and  sometimes  the  good-nature  of 
Addison,  this  is  saying  no  more  than  that  it 
is  not  Addison's  humour :  neither  is  it  that 
of  Swift  or  Arbuthnot.  This  does  not  take 
from  its  originality,  nor  weaken  the  influence 
it  produces  upon  contempt,  the  passion  to 
which  humour  more  particularly  addresses 
itself.  It  ought  to  be  observed,  also,  that 
the  greater  part  of  the  subjects  enumerated 
above  are  new  in  the  history  of  Essay-writ- 
ing ;  and  the  few  that  were  touched  by  for- 


mer  writers,  such  as  the  vh*tuoso's  rarities, 
recommend  themselves  to  the  fancy  by  new 
combinations  and  sportive  jfictions. 

But  the  religious  and  moral  tendency  of 
The  Rambler,  is,  after  all,  its  principal  excel- 
lence, and  what  entitles  it  to  a  higher  praise 
than  can  be  earned  by  the  powers  of  wit,  or 
of  criticism.  On  subjects  connected  with 
the  true  interests  of  man,  what  our  author 
has  said  of  Goldsmith,  may  with,  much  more 
truth  be  applied  to  himself.  Nullum  quod 
tetig-it  non  ornavit.  If  we  do  not  discover  in 
his  essays,  the  genius  which  invents,  we  have 
a  wonderful  display  of  those  powers  of  mind 
which,  second  only  to  the  genius  of  the  poet, 
most  happily  illustrate,  and  almost  instantly 
strike  conviction.  Whatever  position  Dr. 
Johnson  lays  down,  is  laid  down  with  irre- 
sistible force  ;  it  is  not  new,  but  we  wonder 
that  we  have  before  heard  it  with  indilfer- 
ence  ;  it  is,  perhaps,  familiar,  and  yet  we 
receive  it  with  the  welcome  of  a  discovery. 
Whatever  virtue  he  praises,  receives  dignity 
and  strength ;  and  whatever  vice  he  exposes, 
becomes  more  odious  and  coiitemptil^le.  To 
select  examples  from  a  work  so  well  known, 
would  be  superfluous  ;  yet,  one  paper,  No. 
148,  on  parental  cruelty,  which  has  not  gen- 
erally been  pointed  out  by  his  critics,  has  ever 
appeared  to  me  preeminent  in  every  grace  of 
moral  expostulation.  Men  who  have  not  seen 
much  ol"  life,  and  who  believe  cautiously  of 
hum:in    depravity,   cannot   think    it    possible 

v«;l.  xvi.  4 


that  such  a  paper  should  ever  be  read  with- 
out improvement ;  yet,  without  any  very  ex- 
tensive knowledge  of  what  is  daily  passing 
in  the  world,  we  may  be  allowed  to  assert, 
with  the  author,  that  there  are  some  on  whom 
its  persuasions  may  be  lost.  "  He  that  can 
bear  to  give  continual  pain  to  those  who  sur- 
round him,  and  can  walk  with  satisfaction 
in  the  gloom  of  his  own  presence ;  he  that 
can  see  submissive  misery  without  relenting, 
and  meet,  without  emotion,  the  eye  that  im- 
plores mercy,  or  demands  justice,  will  scarcely 
be  amended  by  remonstrance  or  admonition ; 
he  has  found  means  of  stopping  the  avenues 
of  tenderness,  and  arming  his  heart  against 
the  force  of  reason." 

Instances  might  be  multiplied,  in  which 
common  truths,  and  common  maxims,  are 
supported  by  an  eloquence  nowhere  else  to  be 
found  ;  and  in  which  the  principles  of  human 
nature  are  explained  with  a  facility  and  truth 
which  could  result  only  from  what  appears 
to  have  been  the  author's  favourite  study,  the 
study  of  the  heart.  Yet  this  distinguishing 
characteristic  of  The  Rambler,  added  to  a 
style  by  no  means  familiar,  may  have  rendered 
it  a  less  agreeable  companion  to  a  very  nu- 
merous class  of  readers  than  other  works  of 
the  kind.  It  is  certainly  not  a  book  for  the 
uneducated  part  of  the  world,  nor  for  those 
who,  whatever  their  education,  read  only  for 
their  amusement.  In  the  comparison  of 
books   with   men,  it  may  be  said  that  The 


Rambler  is  one  of  those  which  are,  at  first, 
repulsive,  but  which  grow  upon  us  on  a 
fui'ther  acquaintance.  Accordingly,  those  who 
have  read  it  oftenest,  are  most  sensible  of  its 
excellence :  it  will  not  please,  at  first  sight, 
nor  suit  the  gay,  who  wish  to  be  amused,  nor 
the  superficial,  who  cannot  command  atten- 
tion. It  is  to  be  studied,  as  well  a*s  read  ; 
and  the  few  objections  that  have  been  made 
to  it,  would  have  probably  been  retracted,  if 
the  objectors  had  returned  frequently  to  the 
work,  and  examined  whether  the  author  had 
preferred  any  claims  which  could  not  fairly  be 
granted.  It  cannot  be  too  often  repeated 
that  The  Rambler  is  not  a  work  to  be  hastily 
laid  aside ;  and  that  they,  who,  from  the 
apparent  difficulties  of  style  and  manner, 
have  been  led  to  study  it  attentively,  have 
been  amply  rewarded  by  the  discovery  of 
new  beauties ;  and  have  been  ready  to  con- 
fess, what  it  would  be  now  extremely  diffi- 
cult to  disprove,  that  literature,  as  well  as 
morals,  owes  the  greatest  obligations  to  this 
writer ;  and  that  since  the  work  became  pop- 
ular, every  thing  in  literature  or  morals,  in 
history  or  dissertation,  is  better  conceived, 
and  better  expressed, — conceived  with  more 
novelty,  and  expressed  with  greater  energy. 

One  objection,  ind(;ed,  remains  to  be  con- 
sidered, which  is  common  with  the  friends,  as 
well  as  the  enemies  of  this  writer — the  melan- 
choly picture  he  everywhere  exliil)its  of  human 
existence.     "  He   had  penetration  enough  to 


see,"  says  Mr.  Boswell,  "  and  seeing  would 
not  disguise  the  general  misery  of  man  in  this 
state  of  being,  and  this  may  have  given  rise  to 
the  superficial  notion  of  his  being  too  stern  a 
philosopher.  But  men  of  reflection  will  be 
sensible  that  he  has  given  a  true  representa- 
tion of  human  existence,  and  that  he  has,  at 
the  sarrie  time,  with  a  generous  benevolence, 
displayed  every  consolation  which  our  state 
affords  us,  not  only  those  arising  from  the 
hopes  of  futurity,  but  such  as  may  be  attained 
in  the  immediate  progress  through  life."  The 
latter  part  of  this  opinion  may  be  conceded ; 
indeed,  Dr.  Johnson's  most  gloomy  thoughts 
are  so  generally  followed  by  consolation,  that 
perhaps  no  great  evil  can  arise  from  his  dwel- 
ling so  frequently  on  the  melancholy  side  of 
human  life  ;  yet,  I  am  none  of  those  "  men 
of  reflection"  who  think  he  has  given  "  a  true 
representation  of  human  life."  In  writing  the 
papers  alluded  to,  it  is  evident  he  was  describ- 
ing his  own  feelings  and  state,  and  that  his 
resources  were  not  the  observation  of  what 
was  passing  around  him,  but  that  morbid 
melancholy  which  domineered  over  his  body 
and  mind,  and  dictated  at  this  time,  the  reflec- 
tions which  he  was  fond  to  indulge  in  soli- 
tude and  silence,  and  often  amidst  poverty, 
and  sickness,  and  neglect.  That  he  was  de- 
picting his  own  mind,  must  be  obvious  now, 
when  the  world  knows  so  much  of  his  history ; 
and  that  he  was  conscious  his  feelings  might 
betray  him  into  exaggeration,  is  evident  from 


the  conclusion  of  many  of  his  papers,  in  which, 
by  way  of  consolation,  he  almost  refutes  his 
former  positions.  Nay,  he  could  sometimes 
laugh  at  his  prevailing  propensity.  In  No. 
109,  in  the  character  of  a  correspondent,  he 
has,  perhaps,  said  all  that  his  enemies  could 
wish  to  say  on  the  subject :  "  Whether  it  be 
that  continued  sickness  or  misfortune,  has 
acquainted  you  only  with  the  bitterness  of 
being ;  or  that  you  imagine  none  but  yourself 
able  to  discover  what  I  suppose  has  been  seen 
and  felt  by  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  world  ; 
whether  you  intend  your  writings  as  antido- 
tal to  the  levity  and  merriment  with,  which 
your  rivals  endeavour  to  attract  the  favour  of 
the  public ;  or  fancy  that  you  have  some  par- 
ticular powers  of  dolorous  declamation,  and 
warble  out  your  groans  with  uncommon  ele- 
gance or  energy ;  it  is  certain  that  whatever 
be  your  subject,  melancholy  for  the  most  part, 
bursts  in  upon  your  speculation,  your  gayety 
is  quickly  overcast,  and  though  your  readers 
may  be  flattered  with  hopes  of  pleasantry, 
they  are  seldom  dismissed  but  with  heavy 
hearts.  That  I  may,  therefore,  gratify  you 
with  an  imitation  of  your  own  syllables  of 
sadness,  I  will  inform  you,"  &c.  Thus  hu- 
morously could  he  play  with  his  own  failing, 
in  more  happy  and  social  intervals. 

These  gloomy  representations  appear  to 
have  arisen  })artly  from  his  not  having  distin- 
guished between  the  avoidable  and  unavoid- 
able miseries  of  life;  if  these  are  combined, 


our  state  will  appear  wretched  indeed,  and 
we  "  sorrow  as  those  who  have  no  hope  ;"  if, 
to  the  dispensations  of  Providence,  we  add 
the  crimes  and  folUes  of  mankind,  we  place 
ourselves  in  a  situation  in  which  there  is  no 
remedy,  and  from  which  there  is  no  escape. 
Another  reason  for  his  frequent  unfavourable 
opinions  of  existence  may  perhaps  be  traced 
to  his  not  entertaining  very  clear  views  of 
revealed  religion.  Yet,  even  when  somewhat 
of  this  darkness  and  distrust  is  visible,  he 
seems  to  shrink  from  it,  and  to  recommend  to 
his  readers,  and  to  repose  himself  in  the  con- 
solations of  Faith  and  Hope,  to  pray  for  good. 

But  leave  to  Heaven  the  measure  and  the  ehoice. 

Sentiments  like  these,  form  the  conclusion 
of  his  most  unfavourable  reflections  on  "  the 
bitterness  of  being,"  such  is  the  difference 
between  feeling  and  thinking,  and  act  as  an 
antidote  to  any  supposed  mischief  that  can 
arise  from  following  his  gloomy  train  of 
thought ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  his  reflec- 
tions may  be  considered  as  beneficial  in  pro- 
portion to  their  tendency  to  anticipate  the 
disappointments  of  persons  of  sanguine  tem- 
pers and  credulous  affections. 

From  his  private  history,  his  opinions  may 
now  be  gathered  without  disguise ;  and  will 
appear  to  be,  as  already  observed,  frequently 
dictated  by  a  mind  ill  at  ease,  conflicting  with 
a  body  of  distemper,  for  which  no  relief  could 
be  found,  yet  occasionally  cheered  by  pros- 


porous  events,  and  always  susceptible  of  the 
pleasures  of  social  life.  His  complaints  were 
those  of  the  individual,  rather  than  of  the 
species.  Had  he  seen  all  around  him  as  un- 
happy as  himself,  he  would  not  so  frequently 
have  fled  into  company  as  a  relief  for  his  pri- 
vate anxieties.  There  was  this  singularity, 
indeed,  in  his  dislike  of  life,  that  it  never 
drove  him  into  retirement,  which  he  wrote 
and  inveiofhed  aorainst  with  vehemence.  And 
although  he  indulged  melancholy  views  of 
existence,  for  which  he  was  conscious  an 
apology  might  be  found  in  his  unhappy  con- 
stitution of  body,  he  would  check  a  similar 
disposition  in  others,  when  he  had  reason  to 
suspect  that  its  source  was  affectation  and  not 
suffering.  This  habit,  which  some  men  con- 
tract as  they  contract  other  affected  ha])its,  to 
draw  attention,  he,  on  one  occasion,  calls  "  a 
hypocrisy  of  misery." 

Of  Dr.  Johnson's  life  and  character  more 
is  known  than  ever  was  known  of  any  man. 
INIr.  Boswell  has  exhibited  a  more  ffnished 
picture  than  the  utmost  ardour  of  curiosity 
could  have  hoped.  This  ingenious  biographer 
has  proved,  contrary  to  the  common  opinion, 
and  by  means  which  will  not  soon  be  repeat- 
ed, that  the  life  of  a  mere  scholar  may  be  ren- 
dered more  instructive,  more  entertaining,  and 
more  interesting,  than  that  of  any  other  iunnan 
being.  And  ah  hough  the  "conlidcnc*'  of  pri- 
vate conversation"  has  been  thouglit  to  be 
sometimes  violated  in  this  work,  for  w  hich  no 


apology  is  here  intended,  yet  the  world  seems 
agreed  to  forgive  this  failing  in  consideration 
of  the  pleasure  it  has  afforded ;  that  wonder- 
ful variety  of  subjects,  of  wit,  sentiment,  and 
anecdote,  with  which  it  abounds ;  and  above 
all,  the  valuable  instruction  it  presents  on 
many  of  the  most  important  duties  of  life.  It 
must  be  allowed  that  it  created  some  enemies 
to  Dr.  Johnson,  among  those  who  were  not 
enemies  before  this  disclosure  of  his  senti- 
ments. Vanity  has  been  sometimes  hurt,  and 
vanity  has  taken  its  usual  revenge.  It  is 
generally  agi'eed,  however,  that  Mr.  Boswell's 
account  of  his  illustrious  friend  is  impartial : 
he  conceals  no  failing  that  revenge  or  ani- 
mosity has  since  been  able  to  discover;  aU 
his  foibles  of  manner  and  conversation  are 
faithfully  recorded,  and  recorded  so  frequently 
that  it  is  easier  for  a  stranger  to  form  a  j  ust 
estimate  of  Dr.  Johnson  than  of  any  emi- 
nent character  in  the  whole  range  of  bio- 

To  some,  and  particularly  to  the  wits,  Mr. 
Boswell's  minuteness  has  afforded  a  topic  of 
ridicule,  and  this  ridicule  may  be  indulged 
without  any  injury  to  the  great  object  of  the 
work.  The  world  would  not  have  sunk  in 
darkness,  if  it  had  not  been  told  how  Dr. 
Johnson  pared  his  nails,  and  scraped  the  joints 
of  his  fingers  —  what  he  paid  for  an  ounce  of 
vitriol;  in  what  estimation  he  held  Bologna 
sausages ;  or  what  he  did  with  squeezed 
oran£:es.     Some  of  Mr.  Boswell's  illustrations 


may  have  likewise  provoked  a  smiie;  and  the 
following  was  probably  never  read  without 
one :  — 

"  Talking  of  shaving  the  other  night,  at  Dr. 
Taylor's,  Dr.  Johnson  said :  '  Sk,  of  a  thou- 
sand shavers,  two  do  not  shave  so  much  alike 
as  not  to  be  distinguished.'  I  (Mr.  Boswell) 
thought  this  not  possible,  till  he  specified  so 
many  of  the  varieties  in  shaving  :  holding 
the  razor  more  or  less  perpendicular ;  draw- 
ing long  or  short  strokes  ;  beginning  at  the 
upper  part  of  the  face,  or  the  under  ;  at  the 
right  side  or  the  left  side.  Lideed,  when  one 
considers  what  variety  of  sounds  can  be  utter- 
ed by  the  ivindpipe^  in  the  compass  of  a  very 
small  aperture,  ive  may  be  convinced  how  many 
degrees  of  ditierence  there  may  be  in  the  ap- 
plication of  a  razor  !  "  Never,  surely,  was 
there  a  more  ludicrous  combination.  What 
could  have  been  passing  in  the  mind  of  this 
lively  writer  when  he  seriously  brought  the 
skill  of  a  shaver,  or  "  a  thousand  shavers,"  into 
comparison  with  that  mysterious  work  of  na- 
ture, the  human  voice  ?  But  these  harmless 
foibles  may  be  pardoned  in  one  who  at  an 
early  age  had  the  sense  and  virtue  to  attach 
himself  to  such  a  man  as  Dr.  Johnson,  and  to 
collect  his  colloquial  wit  and  wisdom,  with  a 
foresight  that  they  would  one  day  be  read 
with  as  nmch  avidity  as  they  were  accumu- 
lated;  and  that  the  most  distinguished  char- 
^  acters  of  the  age  would  be  happy  to  con- 
tribute to  this   monument  in  honour  of  one 


whom  they  esteemed  "  the  brightest  ornament 
of  the  eighteenth  century."* 

The  failing  in  Dr.  Johnson's  character, 
which  has  been  held  iip  by  his  enemies  in  the 
strongest  light,  was  the  roughness  of  his  tem- 
per. But  this  has  been  the  favourite  topic  of 
objection  and  reproach  chiefly  with  those  who 
did  not  know,  or  were  unwilling  to  confess, 
that  it  was  more  than  balanced  by  a  gentle- 
ness and  tenderness  of  heart,  by  a  most  friendly 
disposition,  and  by  a  love  of  society  and  so- 
cial habits,  such  as  seldom  are  combined  in 
the  same  character.  For  his  occasional  rude- 
nesses many  excuses  may  be  ofl'ered ;  Mi*. 
Boswell's  candour  has  not  suffered  him  to 
conceal  the  hest^  when  he  says  that  he  was  too 
easily  provoked  by  "  absurdity  and  folly." 
Much  of  his  peevishness  evidently  arose  from 
the  ill-timed  and  ridiculous  questions  put  to 
him  by  some  of  his  visitors.  They  considered 
him  as  a  man  who  was  never  to  sit  silent, 
never  to  give  place  to  the  conversation  of  oth- 
ers, but  to  be  perpetually  interrogated  about 
every  thing  and  by  everybody,  that  every- 
body might  go  away  and  report  in  their  circle 
what  they  said  to  Johnson,  and  what  John- 
son said  to  them.  Whether  well  or  ill,  mel- 
ancholy or  cheerful,  he  was  thus  perpetually 
goaded  and  pricked,  perpetually  dragged  into 
opinions  which  were  sometimes  inconsistent, 
and  forced  to  make  replies  which  were  some- 

■*  Mr.  Malone's  Preface  to  his  Edition  of  Shalcspeare. 


times  rude  and  angry.  When  these  cases  oc- 
cur, and  many  of  them  are  very  obvious  in 
Mr.  Boswell's  work,  they  may  surely  "  be  pas- 
sed over  as  the  involuntary  blows  of  a  man 
agitated  by  the  spasms  of  a  convulsion."  * 
For  although,  when  deprived  of  patience  by 
teasing  impertinence,  his  learning  only  con- 
ferred "  that  superiority  which  swells  the  heart 
of  the  lion  in  the  desert,  where  he  roars  with- 
out reply,  and  ravages  without  resistance,"  f 
yet  when  treated  ^vith  the  respect  due  to  him, 
and  in  the  company  where  respect  was  recip- 
rocal, a  "little  child  might  lead  him." 

So  many  instances  are  given  of  the  warmth 
of  his  friendship,  and  the  tenderness  of  his 
heart,  that  it  would  be  difficult  to  produce  the 
name  of  a  man  who  possessed  these  virtues, 
but  especially  the  last,  in  higher  perfection. 
It  is  well  known  that  he  gave  a  fourth  part,  at 
least,  of  his  income  in  charity,  and  his  charity 
was  of  no  common  kind.  It  was  such  as  we 
may  say,  without  hazard  of  contradiction, 
few  philanthropists  would  have  courage  or 
patience  to  imitate.  Not  content  with  be- 
stowing his  alms  on  the  casual  poor,  he  col- 
lected objects  from  the  distressed  of  his  ac- 
quaintance, received  them  into  his  house,  as 
soon  as  he  was  rich  enough  to  be  master  of 
a  house,  and  gave  them  that  shelter  and  as- 
sistance which  scarcely  any  man  thinks  him- 
self obliged  to  give,  unless  to  those  who  are 

*  Rambler,  No.  11.  f  Rambler,  No  72. 


connected  by  the  nearer  ties  of  blood.  Dr.  John- 
son had  no  choice  in  the  selection  of  the  ob- 
jects of  this  domestic  charity,  but  their  suffer- 
ings ;  to  be  poor  and  needy  was  sufficient 
recommendation ;  and  to  be  peevish,  discon- 
tented, and  ungrateful,  was  neither  a  bar  to 
their  reception,  nor  a  plea  for  dismissing  them. 
He  literally  fed  and  supported  a  set  of  objects 
who  were  torments  to  him  by  their  evil  and 
unthankful  tempers  ;  who  sometimes  drove 
him  from  his  home  to  seek  relief  in  company, 
and  always  made  it,  in  a  certain  degree,  un- 
comfortable. Yet  this  never  stinted  the  meas- 
ure of  his  kindness ;  in  answer  to  any  sugges- 
tions that  might  be  offered  by  his  friends  on 
this  subject,  he  had  a  ready  answer,  honour- 
able to  his  head  and  heart :  "  If  I  dismiss 
them,  who  will  take  them  in  ?  "  Out  of  the 
many  instances  upon  record  of  this  rigorous 
charity,  the  following  may  be  selected  as  an 
eminent,  and  almost  matchless,  proof  of  ten- 
derness of  heart,  and  of  the  unwearied  desire 
he  had  to  administer  those  comforts  to  others 
which  he  frequently  wanted  himself.  It  is 
related  by  him  in  a  private  letter :  "  Mrs. 
Williams  is  in  the  country  to  try  if  she  can 
improve  her  health  ;  she  is  very  ill.  Matters 
have  come  so  about,  that  she  is  in  the  coun- 
try with  very  good  accommodation ;  but  age. 
and  sickness,  and  pride,  have  made  her  so 
peevish,  that  I  was  forced  to  bribe  the  maid 
to  stay  with  her,  by  a  secret  stipulation  of 
half  a  crown  a  week  over  her  wages." 


Such  was  the  man  whom  some  have  re- 
viled for  his  rudeness  and  his  petulance,  and, 
by  repeating  a  single  anecdote  to  his  disad- 
vantage, have  multiplied  it  in  imagination  to 
a  thousand ;  and  have  concluded,  contrary  to 
all  evidence,  that  his  whole  conversation  was 
repulsive,  and  his  whole  conduct  unsocial. 
Yet,  during  his  long  life,  no  man's  company 
was  more  courted  by  persons  distinguished 
for  genius  or  rank  ;  and  those  who  knew  him 
most  intimately  held  him  in  the  highest  ven- 
eration. Such  respect,  paid  by  all  who  were 
admitted  into  his  society,  must  have  had  a  solid 
foundation  ;  and,  without  the  knowledge  we 
have  now  acquired  of  him,  we  must  have 
looked  upon  that  man  as  elevated  beyond  the 
common  order,  who  could  procure  such  es- 
teem, and  preserve  such  attachments.  And 
elevated  he  certainly  was,  by  morals,  genius, 
and  wisdom.  With  all  his  defects,  not  a  sin- 
gle vice  has  been  imputed  to  him  ;  while  he 
is  allowed  to  have  possessed  every  virtue  in 
principle,  and,  as  far  as  his  limited  means 
permitted,  to  have  excelled  in  the  practice. 
Every  man  who  knew  him  was  made  wiser 
and  better  by  the  association  ;  nor  will  it  ever 
be  forgotten  that,  in  his  presence,  neither 
wealtli  nor  rank  could  protect  those  who 
dared  to  utter  the  lansfuac^e  of  irreliij^ion  or 

His  conversation  abounded  in  information; 
on  every  topic  of  tlie  most  trillini^  kind  he 
threw  a  new  light ;  and  many  who  tliought 


they  had  settled  thek  opinions,  were  surprised 
when,  by  some  unexpected  illustration,  he 
proved  that  they  had  overlooked  the  point  on 
which,  the  whole  depended.  By  a  habit  he 
appears  to  have  early  acquired  of  considering 
a  question  in  every  possible  view,  he  was 
sometimes  ready  to  take  either  side,  and  for 
the  sake  of  contest  or  information,  to  argue 
contrary  to  his  real  opinion.  This  gave  to 
conversation  the  spur  and  variety  in  which  he 
delighted,  but  never  was  allowed  to  interfere 
with  his  perceptive  duties ;  when  he  wrote  for 
the  public,  he  supported  religion  and  morality 
upon  their  genuine  principles,  and  delivered 
the  sentiments  which  he  honestly  believed 
were  the  best  calculated  to  promote  the  inte- 
rests of  truth  and  virtue.  Indeed,  few  men 
have  more  strictly  adhered  to  truth  on  every 
occasion.  His  reverence  for  it  was  such  that 
he  never  lost  sight  of  its  obligations  in  the 
most  minute  occurrences,  and  did  not  scruple 
to  check  the  lax  vivacity  of  his  intimate 
friends,  and  those  to  whom  he  was  most  in- 

It  is,  however,  far  from  our  intention  to 
exhibit  him  as  a  perfect  character.  Such 
praise  is  foolishly  given  to  man  in  this  state 
of  being ;  nor  is  it  necessary  to  attribute 
more  to  him  than  he  claimed  for  himself. 
Compared  to  men  in  general,  with  regard  to 
literary  accomplishments,  he  was  entitled  to 
a  just  superiority,  and  he  was  conscious  of 


it ;  and  what  man  has  ever  excelled  without 
being  conscious  of  it  ?  But  it  is  hoped  none 
will  look  upon  him  with  less  reverence,  when 
they  behold  him  as  a  fallible  and  peccant 
being,  as  a  dependent  creature  entreating 
Heaven  for  grace  and  support ;  humble  and 
lowly ;  full  of  acknowledgments  of  defects  and 
weaknesses ;  penitent  and  sorrowful  for  his 
many  infirmities  ;  thankful  for  the  mercies  he 
had  received ;  earnest  in  employing  the  means 
of  grace  ;  and  fervently  anxious  for  the  hopes 
of  glory.  His  "  Prayers  and  Meditations " 
thus  exhi])it  his  mind  continually  struggling 
with  imperfections,  and  continually  suppli- 
cating for  help  where  only  it  can  be  found ; 
lamenting  the  loss  of  time,  and  undervaluing 
what  he  had  done,  like  Grotius,  who,  at  the 
close  of  life,  exclaimed,  Heu  !  vitam  perdidi, 
operose  nihil  ai^endo. 

But  the  world  has  agreed  to  think  more 
highly  of  the  public  services  of  Dr.  Johnson, 
and  to  rank  him  among  the  most  illustrious 
writers  of  any  age  or  nation,  and  among  the 
benefactors  to  religion,  virtue,  and  learning. 
Nor  can  these  desultory  thoughts  on  his  char- 
acter be  concluded  in  more  appropriate  terms 
than  the  pathetic  tribute  paid  by  an  eminent 
friend  *  on  the  occasion  of  his  death :    "  He 

*  Boswell's  Life,  vol.  iii.  p.  700.  Mr.  Roswell  lias  not  <i;iven 
the  name  of  this  eminent  friend.  Mr.  liurke  was  suspected  by 
me;  but  I  learn  since  that  it  was  William  Gerrard  ilamilton, 
usually  called  Single-speech  Ilamilton. 


has  made  a  chasm,  which  not  only  nothing 
can  fill  up,  but  which  nothing  has  a  tendency 
to  fill  up.  Johnson  is  dead.  Let  us  go  to 
the  next  best :  There  is  nobody  ;  no  man  can 
be  said  to  put  you  in  mind  of  Johnson." 


No.  1.     TUESDAY,  MARCH  20,  1749-50. 

Cur  tamen  hoc  libeat pothis  decurrere  campo, 
Pti'  qutin  maipius  eqtios  Aurumce  Jlexit  alumnus, 
Si  vacat,  et  placidi  rationem  admittitis,  edam. 

juv.  SAT.  i.  19.  * 

Why  to  expatiate  in  this  beaten  field, 

Wliy  arms  oft  used  in  vain  I  mean  to  wield; 

If  time  permit,  and  candour  will  attend, 

Some  satisfaction  this  essay  may  lend.       elpiiinston. 

Thp:  difficulty  of  the  first  address  on  any  new  oc- 
casion, is  felt  by  every  man  in  his  transactions  with 
the  world,  and  confessed  by  the  settled  and  regular 
forms  of  salutation  which  necessity  has  introduced 
into  all  languages.  Judgment  was  wearied  with  the 
perplexity  of  being  forced  upon  choice,  where  there 
was  no  motive  to  preference,  and  it  was  found  con- 
venient that  some  •easy  method  of  introduction 
should  be  established,  which,  if  it  wanted  the  al- 
lun-ment  of  novelty,  might  enjoy  the  security  of 

Perhaps  few  authors  have  presented  themselves 
before  the  [)ublic,  without  wishing  that  such  cere- 
monial modes  of  entrance  had  been  anciently  estab- 
lished, as  might  have  freed  them  from  those  dangers 

VOL.    XVI.  5 

66  RAMBLER.  NO.    1. 

which  the  desire  of  pleasing  is  certain  to  produce, 
and  precluded  the  vain  expedients  of  softening 
censure  by  apologies,  or  rousing  attention  by  ab- 

The  epic  writers  have  found  the  proemial  part  of 
the  poem  such  an  addition  to  their  undertaking,  that 
they  have  almost  unanimously  adopted  the  first  lines 
of  Homer,  and  the  reader  needs  only  be  informed 
of  the  subject,  to  know  in  what  manner  the  poem 
will  begin. 

But  this  solemn  repetition  is  hitherto  the  peculiar 
distinction  of  heroic  poetry ;  it  has  never  been  le- 
gally extended  to  the  lower  orders  of  literature,  but 
seems  to  be  considered  as  an  hereditary  privilege, 
to  be  enjoyed  only  by  those  who  claim  it  from  their 
alliance  to  the  genius  of  Homer. 

The  rules  which  the  injudicious  use  of  this  prero- 
gative suggested  to  Horace,  may,  indeed,  be  applied 
to  the  direction  of  candidates  for  inferior  fame ;  it 
may  be  proper  for  all  to  remember,  that  they  ought 
not  to  raise  expectation  which  it  is  not  in  their 
power  to  satisfy,  and  that  it  is  more  pleasing  to  see 
smoke  brightening  into  flame,  than  flame  sinking 
into  smoke. 

This  precept  has  been  long  received,  both  from 
regard  to  the  authority  of  Horace,  and  its  conformity 
to  the  general  opinion  of  the  world ;  yet  there  have 
been  always  some,  that  thought  it  no  deviation  from 
modesty  to  recommend  their  ^wn  labours,  and  ima- 
gined themselves  entitled  by  indisputable  merit  to 
an  exemption  from  general  restraints,  and  to  eleva- 
tions not  allowed  in  common  life.  They,  perhaps, 
believed,  that  when,  like  Thucydides,  they  be- 
queathed to  mankind  uTtJiia  eg  ael,  '  an  estate  forever,' 
it  was  an  additional  favour  to  inform  them  of  its 

KO.    1.  RAMBLER.  67 

It  may,  indeed,  be  no  less  dangerous  to  claim,  on 
certain  occasions,  too  little  than  too  much.  There 
is  something  captivating  in  spirit  and  intrepidity,  to 
which  we  often  yield,  as  to  a  resistless  power ;  nor 
can  he  reasonably  expect  the  confidence  of  others, 
who  too  apparently  distrusts  himself 

Plutarch,  in  his  enumeration  of  the  various  occa- 
sions on  which  a  man  may,  without  just  offence,  pro- 
claim his  own  excellences,  has  omitted  the  case  of 
an  author  entering  the  world  ;  unless  it  may  be  com- 
prehended under  his  general  position,  that  a  man 
may  lawfully  praise  himself  for  those  qualities  which 
cannot  be  known  but  from  his  own  mouth  ;  as  when 
he  is  among  strangers,  and  can  have  no  opportunity 
of  an  actual  exertion  of  his  powers.  That  the  case 
of  an  author  is  parallel  will  scarcely  be  granted,  be- 
cause he  necessarily  discovers  the  degree  of  his 
merit  to  his  judges,  when  he  appears  at  his  trial. 
But  it  should  be  remembered,  that  unless  his  judges 
are  inclined  to  favour  him,  they  will  hardly  be  per- 
siuided  to  hear  tiie  cause. 

In  love,  the  state  which  fills  the  heart  with  a  de- 
gree of  solicitude  next  that  of  an  author,  it  has  been 
held  a  maxim,  that  success  is  most  easily  obtained 
by  indirect  and  unperceived  approaches  ;  he  who  too 
soon  professes  himself  a  lover,  raises  obstacles  to 
his  own  wishes,  and  those  whom  disappointments 
have  taught  experience,  endeavour  to  conceal  their 
passion  till  they  believe  their  mistress  wishes  for  the 
discovery.  The  same  method,  if  it  were  practicable 
to  writers,  would  save  many  complaints  of  the  se- 
verity of  the  age,  and  the  caprices  of  criticism.  If 
a  man  could  glide  imperceptibly  into  the  favour  of 
the  public,  and  only  proclaim  his  pretensions  to 
literary  honours  when  he  is  sure  of  not  being  re- 
jected, he  might  commence  author  with  better  hopes, 

68  RAMBLER.  NO.    1. 

as  his  failings  might  escape  contempt  though  he 
shall  never  attain  much  regard. 

But  since  the  world  supposes  every  man  that 
writes  ambitious  of  applause,  as  some  ladies  have 
taught  themselves  to  believe  that  every  man  intends 
love,  who  expresses  civility,  the  miscarriage  of  any 
endeavour  in  learning  raises  an  unbounded  contempt, 
indulged  by  most  minds  without  scruple,  as  an 
honest  triumph  over  unjust  claims  and  exorbitant 
expectations.  The  artifices  of  those  who  put  them- 
selves in  this  hazardous  state,  have,  therefore,  been 
multiplied  in  proportion  to  their  fear  as  well  as  their 
ambition ;  and  are  to  be  looked  upon  with  more  in- 
dulgence, as  they  are  incited  at  once  by  the  two 
great  movers  of  the  human  mind,  the  desire  of  good, 
and  the  fear  of  evil.  For  who  can  wonder  that, 
allured  on  one  side,  and  frightened  on  the  other, 
some  should  endeavour  to  gain  favour  by  bribing 
the  judge  with  an  appearance  of  respect  which  they 
do  not  feel,  to  excite  compassion  by  confessing  weak- 
ness of  which  they  are  not  convinced,  and  others  to 
attract  regard  by  a  show  of  openness  and  magnani- 
mity, by  a  daring  profession  of  their  own  deserts, 
and  a  public  challenge  of  honours  and  rewards  ? 

The  ostentatious  and  haughty  display  of  them- 
selves has  been  the  usual  refuge  of  diurnal  writers, 
in  vindication  of  whose  practice  it  may  be  said,  that 
what  it  wants  in  prudence  is  supplied  by  sincerity, 
and  who  at  least  may  plead,  that  if  their  boasts  de- 
ceive any  into  the  perusal  of  their  performances, 
they  defraud  them  of  but  little  time  :  — 

—  Quid  enim  ?    Concurritur :  horce 
Momento  ciia  mors  venit,  aut  victoria  Iceta. 

HOR.  SAT.  i.  1.  7. 

The  battle  join,  and,  in  a  moment's  flight, 

Death,  or  a  joyful  conquest,  ends  the  fight.      francis. 

NO.    1.  RAMBLER.  69 

The  question  concerning  the  merit  of  the  day  is 
soon  decided,  and  we  are  not  condemned  to  toil 
through  half  a  folio,  to  be  convinced  that  the  writer 
has  broke  his  promise. 

It  is  one  among  many  reasons  for  which  I  pur- 
pose to  endeavour  the  entertainment  of  my  country- 
men by  a  short  essay  on  Tuesday  and  Saturday, 
that  I  liope  not  much  to  tire  those  whom  I  shall  not 
happen  to  please ;  and  if  I  am  not  commended  for 
the  beauty  of  my  works,  to  be  at  least  pardoned  for 
their  brevity.  But  whether  my  expectations  are 
most  fixed  on  pardon  or  praise,  I  think  it  not  neces- 
sary to  discover;  for  having  accurately  weighed  the 
reasons  for  arrogance  and  submission,  I  find  them 
so  nearly  equiponderant,  that  my  impatience  to  try 
the  event  of  my  first  performance  will  not  suffer 
me  to  attend  my  longer  the  trepidations  of  the 

There  are,  indeed,  many  inconveniencies  almost 
peculiar  to  this  method  of  publication,  which  may 
naturally  flatter  the  author,  whether  he  be  confident 
or  timorous.  The  man  to  whom  the  extent  of  his 
knowledge,  or  the  sprightliness  of  his  imagination, 
has,  in  his  own  opinion,  already  secured  the  praises 
of  the  world,  willingly  takes  that  way  of  displaying 
his  abilities  which  will  soonest  give  him  an  opportu- 
nity of  hearing  the  voice  of  fame  ;  it  heightens  his 
alacrity  to  think  in  how  mapy  places  he  shall  hear 
of  what  he  is  now  writing,  read  with  ecstasies  to- 
morrow. He  will  often  please  himself  with  reflect- 
ing, that  the  author  of  a  large  treatise  must  proceed 
with  anxiety,  lest,  before  the  completion  of  his  work, 
the  attention  of  the  public  may  have  changed  its 
object ;  but  that  he  who  is  confined  to  no  single 
topic,  may  follow  the  natiojial  taste  through  all  its 

70  RAMBLER.  NO.    1. 

variations,  and  catch   the  aura  pojniJaris,  the  gale 
of  favour,  from  what  point  soever  it  shall  blow. 

Nor  is  the  prospect  less  likely  to  ease  the  doubts 
of  the  cautious,  and  the  terrors  of  the  fearful ;  for  to 
such  the  shortness  of  every  single  paper  is  a  power- 
ful encouragement.  He  that  questions  his  abilities 
to  arrange  the  dissimilar  parts  of  an  extensive  plan, 
or  fears  to  be  lost  in  a  complicated  system,  may  yet 
hope  to  adjust  a  few  j)ages  without  perplexity;  and 
if,  when  he  turns  over  the  repositories  of  his  mem- 
ory, he  finds  his  collection  too  small  for  a  volume, 
he  may  yet  have  enough  to  furnish  out  an  essay. 
He  that  would  fear  to  lay  out  too  much  time  upon 
an  experiment  of  which  he  knows  not  the  event, 
persuades  himself  that  a  few  days  will  show  him 
what  he  is  to  expect  from  his  learning  and  his 
genius.  If  he  thinks  his  own  judgment  not  suffi- 
ciently enlightened,  he  may,  by  attending  the  re- 
marks which  every  paper  will  produce,  rectify  his 
opinions.  If  he  should,  with  too  little  premeditation, 
incumber  himself  by  an  unwieldy  subject,  he  can 
quit  it  without  confessing  his  ignorance,  and  pass  to 
other  topics  less  dangerous,  or  more  tractable.  And 
if  he  finds,  with  all  his  industry,  and  all  his  artifices, 
that  he  cannot  deserve  regard,  or  cannot  attain  it, 
he  may  let  the  design  fall  at  once,  and,  without  in- 
jury to  others  or  himself,  retire  to  amusements  of 
greater  pleasure,  or  to  studies  of  better  prospect. 

NO.    2.  RAMBLER.  71 

No.  2.     SATURDAY,  MARCH  24,  1749-50. 

Stare  loco  nescit,  pereunt  vestigia  mille 

Ante  fugam,  absentemque  J'erit  gi'avis  ungula  canipum. 


Til'  impatient  courser  pants  in  every  vein, 

And  pawing  seems  to  beat  the  distant  plain; 

Hills,  vales,  and  floods,  appear  already  crost, 

And,  ere  he  starts,  a  thousand  steps  are  lost.  pope. 

That  the  mind  of  man  is  never  satisfied  with  the 
objects  immediately  before  it,  but  is  always  breaking 
away  from  the  present  moment,  and  losing  itself  in 
schemes  of  future  felicity ;  and  that  we  forget  the 
proper  use  of  the  time,  now  in  our  power,  to  provide 
for  the  enjoyment  of  that  which,  perhaps,  may  never 
be  granted  us,  has  been  frequently  remarked  ;  and 
as  this  practice  is  a  commodious  subject  of  raillery 
to  the  gay,  and  of  declamation  to  the  serious,  it  has 
been  ridiculed,  with  all  the  pleasantry  of  wit,  and 
exaggerated  with  all  the  amplifications  of  rhetoric. 
Every  instance,  by  which  its  absurdity  might  ai)pear 
most  flagrant,  has  been  studiously  collected ;  it  has 
been  marked  with  every  epithet  of  contempt,  and 
all  the  tropes  and  figures  have  been  called  forth 
against  it. 

Censure  is  willingly  indulged,  because  it  always 
implies  some  superiority :  men  ])lease  themselves 
with  imagining  that  they  have  made  a  deeper  search, 
or  wider  survey,  than  others,  and  detected  faults 
and  follies,  which  escape  vulgar  observation:  And 
the   pleasure  of  wantoning   in  common  to[)ics  is  so 

72  RAMBLER.  NO.    2. 

tempting  to  a  writer,  that  he  cannot  easily  resign 
it ;  a  train  of  sentiments  generally  received  enables 
him  to  shine  without  labour,  and  to  conquer  without 
a  contest.  It  is  so  easy  to  laugh  at  the  folly  of  him 
who  lives  only  in  idea,  refuses  immediate  ease  for 
distant  pleasures,  and,  instead  of  enjoying  the  bless- 
ings of  life,  lets  life  glide  away  in  preparations  to 
enjoy  them ;  it  affords  such  opportunities  of  trium- 
phant exultation,  to  exemplify  the  uncertainty  of  the 
human  state,  to  rouse  mortals  from  their  dream, 
and  inform  them  of  the  silent  celerity  of  time,  that 
w^e  may  believe  authors  willing  rather  to  transmit 
than  examine  so  advantageous  a  principle,  and 
more  inclined  to  pursue  a  tract  so  smooth  and  so 
flowery,  than  attentively  to  consider  whether  it  leads 
to  truth. 

This  quality  of  looking  forward  into  futurity  seems 
the  unavoidable  condition  of  a  being,  whose  motions 
are  gradual,  and  whose  life  is  progressive :  as  his 
powers  are  limited,  he  must  use  means  for  the  at- 
tainment of  his  ends,  and  intend  first  what  he  per- 
forms last ;  as  by  continual  advances  from  his  first 
stage  of  existence,  he  is  perpetually  varying  the 
horizon  of  his  prospects,  he  must  always  discover 
new  motives  of  action,  new  excitements  of  fear,  and 
allurements  of  desire. 

The  end,  therefore,  which  at  present  calls  forth 
our  efforts,  will  be  found,  when  it  is  once  gained,  to 
be  only  one  of  the  means  to  some  remoter  end.  The 
natural  flights  of  the  human  mind  are  not  from 
pleasure  to  pleasure,  but  from  hope  to  hope. 

He  that  directs  his  steps  to  a  certain  point,  must 
frequently  turn  his  eyes  to  that  place  which  he 
strives  to  reach ;  he  that  undergoes  the  fatigue  of 
labour,  must  solace  his  weariness  with  the  contem- 
plation of  its  reward.     In  agriculture,  one  of  the 

NO.    2.  RAMBLER.  73 

most  simple  and  necessary  employments,  no  niau 
turns  up  the  ground  but  because  he  thinks  of  tiie 
liarvest,  that  harvest  which  blights  may  intercept, 
which  inundations  may  sweep  away,  or  which  death 
or  calamity  may  hinder  him  from  reaping. 

Yet,  as  few  maxims  are  widely  received  or  long 
retained  but  for  some  conformity  with  truth  and  na- 
ture, it  must  be  confessed,  that  this  caution  against 
keeping  our  view  too  intent  upon  remote  advantages 
is  not  without  its  propriety  or  usefulness,  though  it 
may  have  been  recited  with  too  much  levity,  or  en- 
forced with  too  little  distinction  ;  for,  not  to  speak  of 
that  vehemence  of  desire  which  presses  through  right 
and  wrong  to  its  gratification,  or  that  anxious  in- 
quietude which  is  justly  chargeable  with  distrust  of 
Heaven,  subjects  too  solemn  for  ray  present  pur- 
pose ;  it  frequently  happens  that,  by  indulging  early 
the  raptures  of  success,  we  forget  the  measures  ne- 
cessary to  secure  it,  and  suffer  the  imagination  to 
riot  in  the  fruition  of  some  possible  good,  till  the 
time  of  obtaining  it  has  slipped  away. 

There  would,  however,  be  few  enterprises  of  great 
labour  or  hazard  undertaken,  if  we  had  not  the  power 
of  magnifying  the  advantages  which  we  persuade 
ourselves  to  expect  from  them.  When  the  knight 
of  La  Mancha  gravely  recounts  to  his  com{)anioa 
the  adventures  by  which  he  is  to  signalize  himself 
in  such  a  manner  that  he  shall  be  summoned  to  the 
support  of  empires,  solicited  to  accept  the  heiress  of 
the  crown  which  he  has  preserved,  have  honours 
and  riches  to  scatter  about  him,  and  an  island  to 
bestow  on  his  worthy  squire,-  very  few  readers, 
amidst  their  mirth  or  pity,  can  deny  that  they  have 
admitted  visions  of  the  same  kind;  though  they 
have  not,  jjcrhaps,  expected  events  e(|ually  strange, 
or  by  means  e<[ually  inadequate.     AVhen  we  pity 

74  RAMBLER.  NO.    2. 

him,  we  reflect  on  our  own  disappointments ;  and 
when  we  laugh,  our  hearts  inform  us  that  he  is  not 
more  ridiculous  than  ourselves,  except  that  he  tells 
what  we  have  only  thought. 

The  understanding  of  a  man  naturally  sanguine, 
may,  indeed,  be  easily  vitiated  by  the  luxurious  in- 
dulgence of  hope,  however  necessary  to  the  produc- 
tion of  every  thing  great  or  excellent,  as  some  plants 
are  destroyed  by  too  open  exposure  to  that  sun 
which  gives  life  and  beauty  to  the  vegetable  world. 

Perhaps  no  class  of  the  human  species  requires 
more  to  be  cautioned  against  this  anticipation  of 
happiness,  than  those  that  aspire  to  the  name  of 
authors.  A  man  of  lively  fancy  no  sooner  finds  a 
hint  moving  in  his  mind,  than  he  makes  momen- 
taneous  excursions  to  the  press,  and  to  the  world, 
and,  with  a  little  encouragement  from  flattery,  pushes 
forward  into  future  ages,  and  prognosticates  the 
honours  to  be  paid  him,  when  envy  is  extinct,  and 
faction  forgotten,  and  those,  whom  partiality  now 
suffers  to  obscure  him,  shall  have  given  way  to  the 
triflers  of  as  short  duration  as  themselves. 

Those,  who  have  proceeded  so  far  as  to  appeal  to 
the  tribunal  of  succeeding  times,  are  not  likely  to 
be  cured  of  their  infatuation  ;  but  all  endeavours 
ought  to  be  used  for  the  prevention  of  a  disease,  for 
which,  when  it  has  attained  its  height,  perhaps  no 
remedy  will  be  foiind  in  the  gardens  of  philosophy, 
however  she  may  boast  her  physic  of  the  mind,  her 
cathartics  of  vice,  or  lenitives  of  passion. 

I  shall,  therefore,  while  I  am  yet  but  lightly 
touched  with  the  symptoms  of  the  writer's  malady, 
endeavour  to  fortify  myself  against  the  infection,  not 
without  some  weak  hope,  that  my  preservatives  may 
extend  their  virtue  to  others,  whose  employment  ex- 
poses them  to  the  same  danger :  — 

NO.    2.  RAMBLER.  70 

Laudis  amove  fumes  f    Sunt  ceria  piacula,  quce  te 
Tev pure  kcto poterunt  recreare  libello. 

IIOR.   EPIST.  i.  1.  30. 

Is  fame  your  passion  ?   Wisdom's  powerful  chann, 

If  thrice  read  over,  shall  its  force  disarm,         fkancis. 

It  is  the  sage  advice  of  Epictetus,  that  a  man 
should  accustom  himself  often  to  think  of  what  is 
most  shocking  and  terrible,  that  by  such  reflections 
he  may  be  preserved  from  too  ardent  wishes  for 
seeming  good,  and  from  too  much  dejection  in  real 

There  is  nothing  more  dreadful  to  an  author  than 
neglect,  compared  with  which  re[)roach,  hatred,  and 
opposition,  are  names  of  happiness  ;  yet  this  worst, 
this  meanest  fate,  every  one  who  dares  to  write  has 
reason  to  fear. 

I  nunc,  et  versus  tecum  meditare  canoros. 

HOR.  EPIST.   ii.   2.   76. 

Go  now,  and  meditate  thy  tuneful  lays. 


It  may  not  be  unfit  for  him  who  makes  a  new  en- 
trance into  the  lettered  world,  so  far  to  suspect  his 
own  powers,  as  to  believe  that  he  possibly  may  de- 
serve neglect ;  that  nature  may  not  have  qualified 
him  much  to  enlarjTe  or  embellish  knowledjjje,  nor 
sent  iiim  forth  entitled  by  indisputable  superiority  to 
regulate  the  conduct  of  the  rest  of  mankind  ;  that, 
though  the  world  must  be  granted  to  be  yet  in 
ignorance,  he  is  not  destined  to  dispel  the  cloud, 
nor  to  shine  out  as  one  of  the  luminaries  of  life. 
For  this  suspicion,  every  catalogue  of  a  library  will 
furnish  sufficient  reason  ;  as  he  will  find  it  crowded 
with  names  of  men,  who,  though  now  forgotten,  were 
once  no  less  enterprising  or   conlideiit  than  himself. 

76  RAMBLER.  NO.    2. 

equally  pleased  with  their  own  productions,  equally 
caressed  by  their  patrons,  and  flattered  by  their 

But,  though  it  should  happen  that  an  author  is 
capable  of  excelling,  yet  his  merit  may  pass  with- 
out notice,  huddled  In  the  variety  of  things,  and 
thrown  Into  the  general  miscellany  of  life.  He  that 
endeavours  after  fame  by  writing,  solicits  the  regard 
of  a  multitude  fluctuating  In  pleasures,  or  Immersed 
in  business,  without  time  for  Intellectual  amuse- 
ments :  he  appeals  to  judges  prepossessed  by  pas- 
sions, or  corrupted  by  prejudices,  which  preclude 
their  approbation  of  any  new  performance.  Some 
are  too  Indolent  to  read  any  thing,  till  its  reputation 
is  established :  others  too  envious  to  promote  that 
fame  which  gives  them  pain  by  Its  Increase.  What 
is  new  Is  opposed,  because  most  are  unwilling  to  be 
taught :  and  what  is  known  is  rejected,  because  it 
is  not  sufficiently  considered,  that  men  more  fre- 
quently require  to  be  reminded  than  Informed.  The 
learned  are  afraid  to  declare  their  opinion  early,  lest 
they  should  put  their  reputation  in  hazard ;  the 
ignorant  always  imagine  themselves  giving  some 
proof  of  delicacy,  when  they  refuse  to  be  pleased  : 
and  he  that  finds  his  way  to  reputation  through  all 
these  obstructions,  must  acknowledge  that  he  is  in- 
debted to  other  causes  besides  his  industry,  his 
learning,  or  his  wit. 

NO.    3.  RAMBLER.  <  i 

No.  3.     TUESDAY,  MARCH  27,  1750. 

Vii'tus,  repulsce  nescia  soi'dklce, 
InUiininatis  Jidytt  honuribus, 
Nee  stimit  aid  ponit  secures 
Arbitrio 2Xipularis  aurce.     HOR.  CAR.  iii.  2. 17. 

Undisappolnted  in  designs, 

With  native  honours  virtue  shines; 

Nor  takes  up  power,  nor  lays  it  down, 

As  giddy  rabbles  smile  or  frown.       elpiiinston. 

The  task  of  an  author  is,  either  to  teach  what  is 
not  known,  or  to  recommend  known  truths  by  his 
manner  of  adorning  them ;  either  to  let  new  hght  in 
upon  the  mind,  and  open  new  scenes  to  the  prospect, 
or  to  vary  the  dress  and  situation  of  common  objects, 
so  as  to  give  them  fresh  grace  and  more  powerful 
attractions ;  to  spread  such  flowers  over  the  regions 
through  which  the  intellect  has  already  made  its 
jjrogress,  as  may  tempt  it  to  return,  and  take  a 
second  view  of  things  hastily  passed  over,  or  negli- 
gently regarded. 

Either  of  these  labours  is  very  difficult,  because, 
that  they  may  not  be  fruitless,  men  must  not  only 
be  persuaded  of  their  errors,  but  reconciled  to  their 
guide  ;  they  must  not  only  confess  their  ignorance, 
but,  what  is  still  less  pleasing,  must  allow  that  he 
from  whom  they  are  to  learn  is  more  knowing  than 

It  might  be  imagined  that  such  an  em])loyment 
was  in  il.^elf  sulliciently  irksome  and  hazardous  ;  that 
none  would  be  found  so  malevolent  as  wantonly  to 

78  RAMBLER.  NO.    3. 

add  weight  to  the  stone  of  Sisyphus ;  and  that  few 
endeavours  would  be  used  to  obstruct  those  advances 
to  reputation,  which  must  be  made  at  such  an  ex- 
pense of  time  and  thought,  with  so  great  hazard  in 
the  miscarriage,  and  with  so  little  advantage  from 
the  success. 

Yet  there  is  a  certain  race  of  men,  that  either 
imagine  it  their  duty,  or  make  it  their  amusement, 
to  hinder  the  reception  of  every  work  of  learning  or 
genius,  who  stand  as  sentinels  in  the  avenues  of 
fame,  and  value  themselves  upon  giving  Ignorance 
and  Envy  the  first  notice  of  a  prey. 

To  these  men,  who  distinguish  themselves  by  the 
appellation  of  Critics,  it  is  necessary  for  a  new  au- 
thor to  find  some  means  of  recommendation.  It  is 
probable,  that  the  most  malignant  of  these  persecu- 
tors might  be  somewhat  softened,  and  prevailed  on, 
for  a  short  time,  to  remit  their  fury.  Having  for 
this  purpose  considered  many  expedients,  I  find  in 
the  records  of  ancient  times,  that  Argus  was  lulled 
by  music,  and  Cerberus  quieted  with  a  sop  ;  and  am, 
therefore,  inclined  to  believe  that  modern  critics, 
who,  if  they  have  not  the  eyes,  have  the  watchful- 
ness of  Argus,  and  can  bark  as  loud  as  Cerberus, 
though,  perhaps,  they  cannot  bite  with  equal  force, 
might  be  subdued  by  methods  of  the  same  kind.  I 
have  heard  how  some  have  been  pacified  with  claret 
and  a  supper,  and  others  laid  asleep  with  the  soft 
notes  of  flattery. 

Though  the  nature  of  my  undertaking  gives  me  a 
sufficient  reason  to  dread  the  united  attacks  of  this 
virulent  generation,  yet  I  have  not  hitherto  per- 
suaded myself  to  take  any  measures  for  flight  or 
treaty.  For  I  am  in  doubt  whether  they  can  act 
against  me  by  lawful  authority,  and  suspect  that 
they   have    presumed  upon   a   forged    commission, 

NO.    3.  •  RAMBLER.  79 

Styled  themselves  the  ministers  of  Criticism,  with- 
out any  authentic  evidence  of  delegation,  and  utter- 
ed their  own  determinations  as  the  decrees  of  a 
higher  judicature. 

Criticism,  from  whom  they  derive  their  claim  to 
decide  the  fate  of  writers,  was  the  eldest  daughter 
of  Labour  and  of  Truth:  she  was  at  her  birth  com- 
mitted to  the  care  of  Justice,  and  brought  up  by  her 
in  the  palace  of  Wisdom.  Being  soon  distinguished 
by  the  celestials,  for  her  uncommon  qualities,  she 
was  appointed  the  governess  of  Fancy,  and  em- 
powered to  beat  time  to  the  chorus  of  the  Muses, 
when  they  sung  before  the  throne  of  Jupiter. 

When  the  Muses  condescended  to  visit  this  lower 
world,  they  came  accompanied  by  Criticism,  to 
whom,  upon  her  descent  from  her  native  regions, 
Justice  gave  a  sceptre,  to  be  carried  aloft  in  her 
right  hand,  one  end  of  which  was  tinctured  with  am- 
brosia,  and  in  wreathed  with  a  golden  foliage  of  ama- 
ranths and  bays  ;  the  other  end  was  encircled  with 
cypress  and  pop[)ies,  and  dipped  in  the  waters  of 
oblivion.  In  her  left  hand  she  bore  an  unextinguish- 
able  torch,  manufactured  by  Labour,  and  lighted  by 
Truth,  of  which  it  was  the  particular  quality  imme- 
diately to  show  every  thing  in  its  true  form, 
however  it  might  be  disguised  to  common  eyes. 
Whatever  Art  could  comphcate,  or  Folly  could 
confound,  was,  upon  the  tirst  gleam  of  the  torch  of 
Truth,  exhibited  in  its  distinct  parts  and  original 
simplicity;  it  darted  through  the  labyrinths  of  soph- 
istry, and  showed  at  once  all  the  absurdities  to  which 
they  served  for  refuge  ;  it  pierced  through  the  rol>es, 
which  rlietoric  often  sold  to  falsehood,  and  detected 
the  disj)roportion  of  i)arts,  which  artilicial  veils  had 
been  contrived  to  cover. 

Thus  furnished  lor  the  execution  of  her  office, 

80  RAMBLER.  NO.    3. 

Criticism  came  down  to  survey  the  performances 
of  those  who  professed  themselves  the  votaries  of 
the  Muses.  Whatever  was  brought  before  her,  she 
beheld  by  the~  steady  light  of  the  torch  of  Truth,  and 
when  her  examination  had  convinced  her  that  the 
laws  of  just  writing  had  been  observed,  she  touched 
it  with  the  amaranthine  end  of  the  sceptre,  and  con- 
signed it  over  to  immortality. 

But  it  more  frequently  happened,  that  in  the 
works,  which  required  her  inspection,  there  was 
some  imposture  attempted ;  that  false  colours  were 
laboriously  laid ;  that  some  secret  inequality  was 
found  between  the  words  and  sentiments,  or  some 
dissimilitude  of  the  ideas  and  the  original  objects ; 
that  incongruities  were  linked  together,  or  that  some 
parts  were  of  no  use  but  to  enlarge  the  appearance 
of  the  whole,  without  contributing  to  its  beauty,  solid- 
ity, or  usefulness. 

Whenever  such  discoveries  were  made,  and  they 
were  made  whenever  these  faults  were  committed. 
Criticism  refused  the  touch  which  conferred  the 
sanction  of  immortality,  and,  when  the  errors  were 
frequent  and  gross,  reversed  the  sceptre,  and  let 
drops  of  lethe  distil  from  the  poppies  and  cypress,  a 
fatal  mildew,  which  immediately  began  to  waste  the 
work  away,  till  it  was  at  last  totally  destroyed. 

There  were  some  compositions  brought  to  the 
test,  in  which,  when  the  strongest  light  was  thrown 
upon  them,  their  beauties  and  faults  appeared  so 
equally  mingled,  that  Criticism  stood  with  her  sceptre 
poised  in  her  hand,  in  doubt  whether  to  shed  lethe, 
or  ambrosia,  upon  them.  These  at  last  increased  to 
so  great  a  number,  that  she  was  weary  of  attending 
such  doubtful  claims,  and,  for  fear  of  using  improp- 
erly the  sceptre  of  Justice,  referred  the  cause  to 
be  considered  by  Time. 

NO.    3.  RAMBLER.  81 

The  proceedings  of  Time,  though  very  dilatory, 
were,  some  few  caprices  excepted,  conformable  to 
justice :  and  many  who  thought  themselves  secure 
by  a  short  forbearance,  have  sunk  under  his  scythe, 
as  they  were  posting  down  with  their  volumes  in 
triumph  to  futurity.  It  was  observable  that  some 
were  destroyed  by  little  and  little,  and  others  crush- 
ed forever  by  a  single  blow. 

Criticism  having  long  kept  her  eye  fixed  steadily 
upon  Time,  was  at  last  so  well  satisfied  with  his 
conduct,  that  she  withdrew  from  the  earth  with  her 
patroness  Astrea,  and  left  Prejudice  and  False 
Taste  to  ravaore  at  laro;e  as  the  associates  of  Fraud 
and  Mischief;  contenting  herself  thenceforth  to  shed 
her  influence  from  afar  upon  some  select  minds, 
fitted  for  its  reception  by  learning  and  by  virtue. 

Before  her  departure  she  broke  her  sceptre,  of 
which  the  shivers,  that  formed  the  ambrosial  end, 
were  caught  up  by  Flattery,  and  those  that  had 
been  infected  with  the  waters  of  lethe  were,  with 
equal  haste,  seized  by  Malevolence.  The  followers 
of  Flattery,  to  whom  she  distributed  her  part  of  the 
sceptre,  neither  had  nor  desired  light,  but  touched 
indiscriminately  whatever  Power  or  Interest  hap- 
pened to  exhibit.  The  companions  of  Malevolence 
were  supplied  by  the  Furies  with  a  torch,  which  had 
this  quality  peculiar  to  infernal  lustre,  that  its  light 
fell  only  upon  faults. 

No  light,  but  rather  darkness  visible 
Served  only  to  discover  sights  of  woe. 

MILTON'S  r.  L.  i.  63 

With  these  fragments  of  authority,  the  slaves  of 
Flattery  and  Malevolence  marched  out  at  the  com- 
mand of  their  mistresses,  to  confer  immortality,  or 
condemn  to  oblivion.     But  the  sceptre  had  now  lost 

VOL.    XVI.  6 

82  RAMBLER.  NO.    4. 

its  power ;  and  Time  passes  his  sentence  at  leisure, 
without  any  regard  to  their  determinations. 

No.  4.     SATURDAY,  MARCH  31,  1750. 

— Simul  et  jucunda  et  idonea  dicere  vitce. 

HOR.    ARS   POET.    334. 

And  join  both  profit  and  delight  in  one.  creech. 

The  works  of  fiction,  with  which  the  present  gen- 
eration seems  more  particularly  delighted,  are  such 
as  exhibit  life  in  its  true  state,  diversified  only  by 
accidents  that  daily  happen  in  the  world,  and  in- 
fluenced by  passions  and  qualities  which  are  really 
to  be  found  in  conversing  with  mankind. 

This  kind  of  writing  may  be  termed,  not,  improp- 
erly, the  comedy  of  romance,  and  is  to  be  conducted 
nearly  by  the  rules  of  comic  poetry.  Its  province 
is  to  bring  about  natural  events  by  easy  means,  and 
to  keep  up  curiosity  without  the  help  of  wonder :  it 
is,  therefore,  precluded  from  the  machines  and  ex- 
pedients of  the  heroic  romance,  and  can  neither  em- 
ploy giants  to  snatch  away  a  lady  from  the  nuptial 
rites,  nor  knights  to  bring  her  back  from  captivity ; 
it  can  neither  bewilder  its  personages  in  deserts,  nor 
lodge  them  in  imaginary  castles. 

I  remember  a  remark  made  by  Scaliger  upon 
Pontanus,  that  all  his  writings  are  filled  with  the 
same  images ;  and  that,  if  you  take  from  him  his 
liUes  and  his  roses,  his  satyrs  and  his  dryads,  he  will 

NO.    4.  RAMBLER.  83 

have  nothing  left  that  can  be  called  poetry.  In  like 
manner,  almost  all  the  fictions  of  the  last  age  will 
vanish,  if  you  deprive  them  of  a  hermit  and  a  wood, 
a  battle  and  a  shipwreck. 

Why  this  wild  strain  of  imagination  found  recep- 
tion so  long,  in  polite  and  learned  ages,  it  is  not  easy 
to  conceive ;  but  we  cannot  wonder  that  while  read- 
ers could  be  procured,  the  authors  were  willing  to 
continue  it ;  for  when  a  man  had  by  practice  gained 
some  fluency  of  language,  he  had  no  further  care 
than  to  retire  to  his  closet,  let  loose  his  invention, 
and  heat  his  mind  with  incredibilities ;  a  book  was 
thus  produced  without  fear  of  criticism,  without  the 
toil  of  study,  without  knowledge  of  nature,  or  ac- 
quaintance with  life. 

The  task  of  our  present  writers  is  very  different ; 
it  requires,  together  with  that  learning  which  is  to 
be  gained  from  books,  that  experience  which  can 
never  be  attained  by  solitary  dihgence,  but  must 
arise  from  general  converse  and  accurate  observa- 
tion of  the  living  world.  Their  performances  have, 
as  Horace  expresses  it,  plus  oneris  quantum  venice 
minus,  little  indulgence,  and,  therefore,  more  diffi- 
culty. They  are  engaged  in  portraits  of  which 
every  one  knows  the  original,  and  can  detect  any 
deviation  from  exactness  of  resemblance.  Other 
writings  are  safe,  except  from  the  malice  of  learn- 
ing, but  these  are  in  danger  from  every  common 
reader ;  as  the  slipper  ill  executed  was  censured  by 
a  shoemaker  who  happened  to  stop  in  his  way  at 
the  Venus  of  Apelles. 

But  llie  fear  of  not  being  approved  as  just  copiers 
of  human  manners,  is  not  the  most  important  con- 
cern that  an  author  of  this  sort  ought  to  have  be- 
fore him.  These  books  are  written  chieliy  to  the 
young,   the  ignorant,  and   the  idle,  to  wliom  they 

84  RAMBLER.  NO.    4. 

serve  as  lectures  of  conduct,  and  introductions  into 
life.  They  are  the  entertainment  of  minds  unfur- 
nished with  ideas,  and,  therefore,  easily  susceptible 
of  impressions ;  not  fixed  by  principles,  and,  there- 
fore, easily  following  the  current  of  fancy ;  not  in- 
formed by  experience,  and  consequently  open  to 
every  false  suggestion  and  partial  account. 

That  the  hisrhest  deo^ree  of  reverence  should  be 
paid  to  youth,  and  that  nothing  indecent  should  be 
suffered  to  approach  their  eyes  or  ears,  are  precepts 
extorted  by  sense  and  virtue  from  an  ancient  writer, 
by  no  means  eminent  for  chastity  of  thought.  The 
same  kind,  though  not  the  same  degree  of  caution,  is 
required  in  every  thing  which  is  laid  before  them, 
to  secure  them  from  unjust  prejudices,  perverse 
opinions,  and  incongruous  combinations  of  images. 

In  the  romances  formerly  written,  every  trans- 
action and  sentiment  was  so  remote  from  all  that 
passes  among  men,  that  the  reader  was  in  very  little 
danger  of  making  any  applications  to  himself;  the 
virtues  and  crimes  were  equally  beyond  his  sphere 
of  activity ;  and  he  amused  himself  with  heroes  and 
with  traitors,  deUverers  and  persecutors,  as  with  be- 
ings of  another  species,  whose  actions  were  regulat- 
ed upon  motives  of  their  own,  and  who  had  neither 
faults  nor  excellences  in  common  with  himself. 

But  when  an  adventurer  is  levelled  with  the  rest 
of  the  world,  and  acts  in  such  scenes  of  the  univer- 
sal drama  as  may  be  the  lot  of  any  other  man, 
young  spectators  fix  their  eyes  upon  him  with  closer 
attention,  and  hope,  by  observing  his  behaviour 
and  success,  to  regulate  their  own  practices,  when 
they  shall  be  engaged  in  the  like  part. 

For  this  reason  these  familiar  histories  may,  per- 
haps, be  made  of  greater  use  than  the  solemnities 
of  professed  morality,  and  convey  the  knowledge  of 

NO.    4.  RAMBLER.  85 

vice  and  virtue  with  more  efficacy  than  axioms  and 
definitions.  But  if  the  power  of  example  is  so  great, 
as  to  take  possession  of  the  memory  by  a  kind  of 
violence,  and  produce  effects  almost  without  the 
intervention  of  the  will,  care  ought  to  be  taken,  that, 
when  the  choice  is  unrestrained,  the  best  examples 
only  should  be  exhibited  ;  and  that  which  is  likely 
to  operate  so  strongly,  should  not  be  mischievous  or 
uncertain  in  its  effects. 

The  chief  advantage  which  these  fictions  have 
over  real  life  is,  that  their  authors  are  at  liberty, 
though  not  to  invent,  yet  to  select  objects,  and  to 
cull  from  the  mass  of  mankind,  those  individuals 
upon  which  the  attention  ought  most  to  be  employed  ; 
as  a  diamond,  though  it  cannot  be  made,  Vnay  be 
polished  by  art,  and  placed  in  such  a  situation,  as 
to  display  that  lustre  which  before  was  buried 
among:  common  stones. 

It  is  justly  considered  as  the  greatest  excellency 
of  art,  to  imitate  nature;  but  it  is  necessary  to  dis- 
tinguish those  parts  of  nature,  which  are  most 
proper  for  imitation :  greater  care  is  still  required 
in  representing  life,  which  is  so  often  discoloured  by 
passion,  or  deformed  by  wickedness.  If  the  world 
be  promiscuously  described,  I  cannot  see  of  what 
use  it  can  be  to  read  the  account ;  or  why  it  may 
not  be  as  safe  to  turn  tiie  eye  immediately  upon 
mankind  as  upon  a  mirror  which  shows  all  that  pre- 
sents itself  witliout  discrimination. 

It  is,  therefore,  not  a  sufiicient  vindication  of  a 
character,  that  it  is  drawn  as  it  appears,  for  many 
characters  ought  never  to  be  drawn  ;  nor  of  a  narra- 
tive, that  the  train  of  events  is  agreeable  to  observa- 
tion and  experience,  for  that  observation  which  is 
called  knowlcdfre  of  the  world  will  be  found  much 
more  freciuently  to  make   men  cuiniing  tlian  good. 

86  RAMBLER.  NO.    4. 

The  purpose  of  these  writings  is  surely  not  only  to 
show  mankind,  but  to  provide  that  they  may  be 
seen  hereafter  with  less  hazard ;  to  teach  the  means 
of  avoiding  the  snares  which  are  laid  by  Treachery 
for  Innocence,  without  infusing  any  wish  for  that 
superiority  with  which  the  betrayer  flatters  his  van- 
ity ;  to  give  the  power  of  counteracting  fraud,  with- 
out the  temptation  to  practise  it ;  to  initiate  youth 
by  mock  encounters  in  the  art  of  necessary  defence, 
and  to  increase  prudence  without  impairing  virtue. 

Many  writers,  for  the  sake  of  following  nature, 
so  mingle  good  and  bad  qualities  in  their  principal 
personages,  that  they  are  both  equally  conspicuous  ; 
and  as  we  accompany  them  through  their  adven- 
tures with  delight,  and  are  led  by  degrees  to  inter- 
est ourselves  in  their  favour,  we  lose  the  abhorrence 
of  their  faults,  because  they  do  not  hinder  our  plea- 
sure, or,  perhaps,  regard  them  with  some  kindness 
for  being  united  with  so  much  merit. 

There  have  been  men,  indeed,  splendidly  wicked, 
whose  endowments  threw  a  brightness  on  their 
crimes,  and  whom  scarce  any  villany  made  perfectly 
detestable,  because  they  never  could  be  wholly  di- 
vested of  their  excellences  ;  but  such  have  been  in 
all  ages  the  great  corrupters  of  the  world,  and  their 
resemblance  ought  no  more  to  be  preserved,  than 
the  art  of  murdering  without  pain. 

Some  have  advanced,  without  due  attention  to 
the  consequences  of  this  notion,  that  certain  virtues 
have  their  correspondent  faults,  and,  therefore,  that 
to  exhibit  either  apart  is  to  deviate  from  probability. 
Thus  men  are  observed  by  Swift  to  be  '  grateful  in 
the  same  degree  as  they  are  resentful.'  This  prin- 
ciple, witli  others  of  the  same  kind,  supposes  man 
to  act  from  a  brute  impulse,  and  pursue  a  certain 
degree  of  inclination,  without  any  choice  of  the  ob- 

NO.    4.  RAMBLER.  87 

ject ;  for,  otherwise,  though  it  should  be  allowed  that 
gratitude  and  resentment  arise  from  the  same  con- 
stitution of  the  passions,  it  follows  not  that  they  will 
be  equally  indulged  when  reason  is  consulted ;  yet 
unless  that  consequence  be  admitted,  this  sagacious 
maxim  becomes  an  empty  sound,  without  any  rela- 
tion to  practice  or  to  life. 

Nor  is  it  evident,  that  even  the  first  motions  to 
these  effects  are  always  in  the  same  proportion.  For 
pride,  which  produces  quickness  of  resentment,  will 
obstruct  gratitude,  by  unwillingness  to  admit  that 
inferiority  which  obligation  implies  ;  and  it  is  very 
unlikelv,  that  he  who  cannot  think  he  receives  a 
favour,  will  acknowledge  or  repay  it. 

It  is  of  the  utmost  importance  to  mankind,  that 
positions  of  this  tendency  should  be  laid  open  and 
confuted;  for  while  men  consider  good  and  evil  as 
springing  from  the  same  root,  they  will  spare  the 
one  for  the  sake  of  the  other,  and  in  judging,  if  not 
of  others  at  least  of  themselves,  will  be  apt  to  esti- 
mate their  virtues  by  their  vices.  To  this  ftital 
error  all  those  will  contribute,  who  confound  the 
colours  of  right  and  wrong,  and,  instead  of  helping 
to  settle  their  boundaries,  mix  them  with  so  much 
art,  that  no  common  mind  is  able  to  disunite  them. 

Ill  narratives,  where  historical  veracity  has  no 
place,  1  cannot  discover  why  there  should  not  be 
exhibited  the  most  perfect  idea  of  virtue  ;  of  virtue 
not  angelical,  nor  above  probability,  for  what  we 
cannot  credit  we  shall  never  imitate,  but  the  highest 
and  purest  that  humanity  can  reach,  which  exercised 
in  such  trials  as  the  various  revolutions  of  things 
shall  bring  upon  it,  may,  by  conquering  some  calam- 
ities, and  enduring  others,  teach  us  what  we  may 
hope,  and  what  we  can  perforin.  Vice,  for  vice  is 
necessary  to  be  shown,  should  always  disgust ;  nor 

88  RAMBLER.  NO.    5. 

should  the  graces  of  gayety,  or  the  dignity  of  cour- 
age, be  so  united  with  it,  as  to  reconcile  it  to  the 
mind :  wherever  it  appears,  it  should  raise  hatred 
by  the  malignity  of  its  practices,  and  contempt  by 
the  meanness  of  its  stratagems:  for  while  it  is  sup- 
ported by  either  parts  or  spirit,  it  will  be  seldom 
heartily  abhorred.  The  Romati  tyrant  was  content 
to  be  hated,  if  he  was  but  feared ;  and  there  are 
thousands  of  the  readers  of  romances  willing  to  be 
thought  wicked,  if  they  may  be  allowed  to  be  wits. 
It  is,  therefore,  to  be  steadily  inculcated,  that  virtue 
is  the  highest  proof  of  understanding,  and  the  only 
solid  basis  of  greatness ;  and  that  vice  is  the  natural 
consequence  of  narrow  thoughts ;  that  it  begins  in 
mistake,  and  ends  in  ignominy. 

No.  5.     TUESDAY,  APRIL  3,  1750. 

Et  nunc  omnis  uger,  nunc  omnis  j^'^vturlt  arbos, 
Nunc  frondent  silvce^  nunc  formoslsslmus  annus. 

viRG.  ECL.  iii.  56. 

Now  every  field,  now  every  tree  is  green ; 
Now  genial  nature's  fairest  face  is  seen. 


Every  man  is  sufficiently  discontented  with  some 
circumstances  of  his  present  state,  to  suffer  his  im- 
agination to  range  more  or  less  in  quest  of  future 
happiness,  and  to  fix  upon  some  point  of  time,  in 
which,  by  the  removal  of  the  inconvenience  which 
now  perplexes  him,  or  acquisition  of  the  advantage 

NO.    5.  RAMBLER.  89 

which  he  at  present  wants,  he  shall  find  the  condi- 
tion of  his  life  very  much  improved. 

Wiien  this  time,  which  is  too  often  expected  with 
great  impatience,  at  last  arrives,  it  generally  comes 
Avithout  the  blessing  for  which  it  was  desired ;  but 
we  solace  ourselves  with  some  new  prospect,  and 
press  forward  again  with  equal  eagerness. 

It  is  lucky  for  a  man,  in  whom  this  temper  pre- 
vails, when  he  turns  his  hopes  upon  things  wholly 
out  of  his  own  power ;  since  he  forbears  then  to  pre- 
cipitate his  affairs,  for  the  sake  of  the  great  event 
that  is  to  complete  his  felicity,  and  waits  for  the 
blissful  hour  with  less  neglect  of  the  measure?  ne- 
cessary to  be  taken  in  the  mean  time. 

I  have  long  known  a  person  of  this  temper,  who 
indulged  his  dream  of  happiness  with  less  hurt  to 
himself  than  such  chimerical  wishes  commonly  pro- 
duce, and  adjusted  his  scheme  with  such  address, 
that  his  hopes  were  in  full  bloom  three  parts  of  the 
year,  and  in  the  other  part  never  wholly  blasted. 
Many,  perhaps,  would  be  desirous  of  learning  by 
what  means  he  procured  to  himself  such  a  cheap 
and  lasting  satisfaction.  It  was  gained  by  a  con- 
stant practice  of  referring  the  removal  of  all  his 
uneasiness  to  the  coming  of  the  next  spring ;  if  his 
health  was  impaired,  the  spring  would  restore  it ;  if 
what  he  wanted  was  at  a  high  price,  it  would  fall  its 
value  in  tlie  spring. 

The  spring,  indeed,  did  often  come  without  any 
of  these  effects,  but  he  was  always  certain  that  the 
next  would  be  more  propitious;  nor  was  ever  con- 
vinced, that  the  present  spring  would  fail  him  be- 
fore the  middle  of  summer ;  for  he  always  talked  of 
the  spring  as  coming  till  it  was  past,  and  when  it 
was  once  past,  every  one  agreed  with  him  that  it 
was  coming. 

90  RAMBLER.  NO.    5. 

By  long  converse  with  this  man,  I  am,  perhaps, 
brought  to  feel  immoderate  pleasure  in  the  contem- 
plation of  this  delightful  season;  but  I  have  the 
satisfaction  of  finding  many,  whom  it  can  be  no 
shame  to  resemble,  infected  with  the  same  enthu- 
siasm ;  for  there  is,  I  believe,  scarce  any  poet  of 
eminence,  who  has  not  left  some  testimony  of  his 
fondness  for  the  flowers,  the  zephyrs,  and  the  war- 
blers of  the  spring.  Nor  has  the  most  luxuriant 
imagination  been  able  to  describe  the  serenity  and 
happiness  of  the  golden  age,  otherwise  than  by  giv- 
ing a  perpetual  sjDring  as  the  highest  reward  of  un- 
corrfipted  innocence. 

There  is,  indeed,  something  inexpressibly  pleas- 
ing in  the  annual  renovation  of  the  world,  and  the 
new  display  of  the  treasures  of  nature.  The  cold 
and  darkness  of  winter,  with  the  naked  deformity 
of  every  object  on  which  we  turn  our  eyes,  make  us 
rejoice  at  the  succeeding  season,  as  well  for  what 
we  have  escaped,  as  for  what  we  may  enjoy ;  and 
every  budding  flower,  which  a  warm  situation  brings 
early  to  our  view,  is  considered  by  us  as  a  mes- 
senger to  notify  the  approach  of  more  joyous  days. 

The  spring  affords  to  a  mind,  so  free  from  the 
disturbance  of  cares  or  passions  as  to  be  vacant  to 
calm  amusements,  almost  every  thing  that  our  pres- 
ent state  makes  us  capable  of  enjoying.  The 
variegated  verdure  of  the  fields  and  woods,  the  suc- 
cession of  grateful  odours,  the  voice  of  pleasure 
pouring  out  its  notes  on  every  side,  with  the  glad- 
ness apparently  conceived  by  every  animal,  from 
the  growth  of  his  food,  and  the  clemency  of  the 
weather,  throw  over  the  whole  earth  an  air  of 
gayety,  significantly  expressed  by  the  smile  of 

Yet  there  are  men  to  whom  these  scenes  are  able 

NO.    5.  RAMBLER.  91 

to  give  no  delight,  and  who  huny  away  from  all 
the  varieties  of  rural  beauty,  to  lose  their  hours  and 
divert  their  thoughts  by  cards,  or  assemblies,  a 
tavern  dinner,  or  the  prattle  of  the  day. 

It  may  be  laid  down  as  a  position  which  will 
seldom  deceive,  that  when  a  man  cannot  bear  his 
own  company,  there  is  something  wrong.  He  must 
fly  from  himself,  either  because  he  feels  a  tedious- 
ness  in  life  from  the  equipoise  of  an  empty  mind, 
which,  having  no  tendency  to  one  motion  more  than 
another  but  as  it  is  impelled  by  some  external 
power,  must  always  have  recourse  to  foreign  objects  ; 
or  he  must  be  afraid  of  the  intrusion  of  some  un- 
pleasing  ideas,  and,  perhaps,  is  struggling  to  escape 
from  the  remembrance  of  a  loss,  the  fear  of  a  ca- 
lamity, or  some  other  thought  of  greater  horror. 

Those  whom  sorrow  incapacitates  to  enjoy  the 
pleasures  of  contemplation,  may  properly  apply  to 
such  diversions,  provided  they  are  innocent,  as  lay 
strong  hold  on  the  attention  ;  and  those,  whom  fear 
of  any  future  attiiction  chains  down  to  misery,  must 
endeavour  to  obviate  the  danger. 

My  considerations  shall,  on  this  occasion,  be  turned 
on  such  as  are  burdensome  to  themselves  merely 
because  they  want  subjects  for  reflection,  and  to 
whom  the  volume  of  nature  is  thrown  open,  without 
affording  them  pleasure  or  instruction,  because  tiiey 
never  learned  to  read  the  characters. 

A  French  author  has  advanced  this  seeming  para- 
dox, that  '  very  few  men  know  how  to  take  a  walk  ; ' 
and,  indeed,  it  is  true,  that  few  know  how  to  take  a 
walk  with  a  prospect  of  any  other  pleasure,  than  the 
same  com})any  would  have  afforded  them  at  home. 

There  are  animals  that  borrow  their  colour  from 
the  neighbouring  body,  and  conse({uently  vary  their 
hue  as  they  happen  to  change  their  place.      In  like 

92  RAMBLER.  NO.    5. 

manner  it  ought  to  be  the  endeavour  of  every  man 
to  derive  his  reflections  from  the  objects  about  him ; 
for  it  is  to  no  purpose  that  he  alters  his  position,  if 
his  attention  continues  fixed  to  the  same  point.  The 
mind  should  be  kept  open  to  the  access  of  every  new 
idea,  and  so  far  disengaged  from  the  predominance 
of  particular  thoughts  as  easily  to  accommodate  it- 
self to  occasional  entertainment. 

A  man  that  has  formed  this  habit  of  turning  every 
new  object  to  his  entertainment,  finds  in  the  produc- 
tions of  nature  an  inexhaustible  stock  of  materials 
upon  which  he  can  employ  himself,  without  any 
temptations  to  envy  or  malevolence  ;  faults,  perhaps, 
seldom  totally  avoided  by  those,  whose  judgment  is 
much  exercised  upon  the  works  of  art.  He  has  al- 
ways a  certain  prospect  of  discovering  new  reasons 
for  adoring  the  sovereign  Author  of  the  universe, 
and  probable  hopes  of  making  some  discovery  of 
benefit  to  others,  or  of  profit  to  himself.  There  is 
no  doubt  but  many  vegetables  and  animals  have 
qualities  that  might  be  of  great  use,  to  the  knowledge 
of  which  there  is  not  required  much  force  of  pene- 
tration or  fatigue  of  study,  but  only  frequent  experi- 
ments and  close  attention.  What  is  said  by  the 
chemists  of  their  darling  mercury,  is,  perhaps,  true 
of  everybody  through  the  whole  creation,  that,  if  a 
thousand  lives  should  be  spent  upon  it,  all  its  prop- 
erties would  not  be  found  out. 

Mankind  must  necessarily  be  diversified  by  various 
tastes,  since  life  affords  and  requires  such  multipli- 
city of  employments,  and  a  nation  of  naturalists  is 
neither  to  be  hoped  nor  desired ;  but  it  is  surely  not 
improper  to  point  out  a  fresh  amusement  to  those 
who  languish  in  health,  and  repine  in  plenty,  for 
want  of  some  source  of  diversion  that  may  be  less 
easily  exhausted,  and  to  inform  the  multitudes  of 

NO.    6.  RAMBLKR.  03 

both  sexes,  who  are  burdened  with  every  new 
day,  that  there  are  many  shows  which  they  have 
not  seen. 

He  that  enhirges  his  curiosity  after  the  works  of 
nature,  demonstrably  mukiphes  the  inlets  to  happi- 
ness ;  and,  therefore,  the  younger  part  of  my  readers, 
to  whom  I  dedicate  this  vernal  speculation,  must  ex- 
cuse me  for  calling  upon  them,  to  make  use  at  once 
of  the  spring  of  the  year,  and  the  spring  of  life  ;  to 
acquire,  while  their  minds  may  be  yet  impressed 
with  new  images,  a  love  of  innocent  pleasures,  and 
an  ardour  for  useful  knowledge ;  and  to  remember 
that  a  blighted  spring  makes  a  barren  year,  and  that 
the  vernal  flowers,  however  beautiful  and  gay,  are 
only  intended  by  nature  as  preparatives  to  autum- 
nal fruits. 

No.  6.     SATURDAY,  APRIL  7,  1750. 

Strenua  nos  exercet  inertia :  navibus  atque 
Qttadrifjis petimus  bene  river e.     Quod jjeiis,  hie  est; 
Est  Ulubiis,  animus  si  te  non  dejicit  cequns. 

HOR.  EPIST.  ii.  11.  28. 

Active  in  indolence,  abroad  we  roam 
In  quest  of  happiness,'  which  dwells  at  home: 
With  vain  pursuits  fatigued,  at  length  you  '11  find, 
No  place  excludes  it  from  an  equal  mind. 


That  man  should  never  suffer   his  happiness  to 
depend  upon  external  circumstances,  is  one   of  the 

94  RAMBLER.  NO.    6. 

chief  precepts  of  the  Stoical  philosophy ;  a  precept, 
indeed,  which  that  loftj  sect  has  extended  beyond 
the  condition  of  human  life,  and  in  which  some  of 
them  seem  to  have  comprised  an  utter  exclusion  of 
all  corporal  pain  and  pleasure  from  the  regard  or 
attention  of  a  wise  man. 

Such  sapientia  insamens,  as  Horace  calls  the 
doctrine  of  another  sect,  such  extravagance  of  philo- 
sophy, can  w^ant  neither  authority  nor  argument  for 
its  confutation ;  it  is  overthrown  by  the  experience 
of  every  hour,  and  the  powers  of  nature  rise  up 
against  it.  But  we  may  very  properly  inquire,  how 
near  to  this  exalted  state  it  is  in  our  power  to  ap- 
proach, how  far  we  can  exempt  ourselves  from  out- 
ward influences,  and  secure  to  our  minds  a  state  of 
tranquillity ;  for,  though  the  boast  of  absolute  inde- 
pendence is  ridiculous  and  vain,  yet  a  mean  flexi- 
bility to  every  impulse,  and  a  patient  submission  to 
the  tyranny  of  casual  troubles,  is  below  the  dignity 
of  that  mind,  which,  however  depraved  or  weakened, 
boasts  its  derivation  from  a  celestial  original,  and 
hopes  for  a  union  with  infinite  goodness  and  unvari- 
able  felicity. 

Ni  viilis  pejora  f ovens 

Prqprium  cleserat  ortum. 

Unless  the  soul,  to  vice  a  thrall, 
Desert  her  own  original. 

The  necessity  of  erecting  ourselves  to  some  degree 
of  intellectual  dignity,  and  of  preserving  resources 
of  pleasure,  which  may  not  be  wholly  at  the  mercy 
of  accident,  is  never  more  apparent  than  when  we 
turn  our  eyes  upon  those  whom  fortune  has  let  loose 
to  their  own  conduct ;  who,  not  being  chained  down 
by  their  condition  to  a  regular  and  stated  allotment 

NO.    6.  RAMBLER.  95 

of  their  hours,  are  obliged  to  find  tliemselves  busi- 
ness or  diversion,  and  having  nothing  within  tliat 
can  entertain  or  employ  them,  are  compelled  to  try 
all  the  arts  of  destroying  time. 

The  numberless  expedients  practised  by  this  class 
of  mortals  to  alleviate  the  burden  of  life,  are  not 
less  shameful,  nor,  perhaps,  much  less  pitiable,  than 
those  to  which  a  trader  on  the  edge  of  bankru[)tcy 
is  reduced.  I  have  seen  melancholy  overspread  a 
whole  family  at  the  disappointment  of  a  party  for 
cards ;  and  when,  after  the  proposal  of  a  thousand 
schemes,  and  the  dispatch  of  the  footman  upon  a 
hundred  messages,  they  have  submitted  with  gloomy 
resignation  to  the  misfortune  of  passing  one  evening 
in  conversation  with  each  other,  on  a  sudden,  such 
are  the  revolutions  of  the  world,  an  unexpected 
visitor  has  brought  them  relief,  acceptable  as  provis- 
ion to  a  starving  city,  and  enabled  them  to  hold  out 
till  the  next  day. 

The  general  remedy  of  those,  who  are  uneasy 
without  knowing  the  cause,  is  change  of  place  ;  they 
are  willing  to  imagine  that  their  pain  is  the  conse- 
quence of  some  local  inconvenience,  and  endeavoui 
to  fly  from  it,  as  children  from  their  shadows  ;  al- 
ways hoping  for  some  more  satisfactory  delight  from 
every  new  scene,  and  always  returning  home  with 
disappointment  and  complaints. 

\Vho  can  look  U[)on  this  kind  of  infatuation,  with- 
out reflecting  on  those  that  suffer  under  the  dreadful 
symptom  of  canine  madness,  termed  by  physicians 
the  dread  of  water?  These  miserable  wretches, 
unable  to  drink,  though  burning  with  thirst,  are 
sometimes  known  to  try  various  contortions,  or  in- 
clinations of  the  body,  flattering  tliemselves  that 
they  can  swallow  in  one  posture  that  licpior  which 
they  flnd  in  anotiier  to  repel  tlieir  lips. 

OG  RAMBLER.  NO.    6. 

Yet  such  folly  is  not  peculiar  to  the  thoughtless 
or  ignorant,  but  sometimes  seizes  those  minds  which 
seem  most  exempted  from  it,  by  the  variety  of  at- 
tainments, quickness  of  penetration,  or  severity  of 
judgment;  and,  indeed,  the  pride  of  wit  and  know- 
ledge is  often  mortified  by  finding  that  they  confer 
no  security  against  the  common  errors,  which  mis- 
lead the  weakest  and  meanest  of  mankind. 

These  reflections  arose  in  my  mind  upon  the  re- 
membrance of  a  passage  in  Cowley's  preface  to  his 
poems,  where,  however  exalted  by  genius,  and  en- 
larged by  study,  he  informs  us  of  a  scheme  of  happi- 
ness to  which  the  imagination  of  a  girl  upon  the  loss 
of  her  first  lover,  could  have  scarcely  given  way  ; 
but  which  he  seems  to  have  indulged,  till  he  had 
totally  forgotten  its  absurdity,  and  would  probably 
have  put  in  execution,  had  he  been  hindered  only 
by  his  reason. 

"  My  desire,"  says  he,  "  has  been  for  some  years 
past,  though  the  execution  has  been  accidentally 
diverted,  and  does  still  vehemently  continue,  to  re- 
tire myself  to  some  of  our  American  plantations,  not 
to  seek  for  gold,  or  enrich  myself  with  the  traffic  of 
those  parts,  which  is  the  end  of  most  men  that  tra- 
vel thither ;  but  to  forsake  this  world  forever,  with 
all  the  vanities  and  vexations  of  it,  and  to  bury  my- 
self there  in  some  obscure  retreat,  but  not  without 
the  consolation  of  letters  and  philosophy." 

Such  was  the  chimerical  provision  which  Cowley 
had  made,  in  his  own  mind,  for  the  quiet  of  his  re- 
maining life,  and  which  he  seems  to  recommend  to 
posterity,  since  there  is  no  other  reason  for  disclosing 
it.  Surely,  no  stronger  instance  can  be  given  of  a 
persuasion  that  content  was  the  inhabitant  of  par- 
ticular regions,  and  that  a  man  might  set  sail  with  a 
fair  wind,  and  leave  behind  him  all  his  cares,  in- 
cumbrances, and  calamities. 

NO.   6.  RAMBLER.  97 

If  lie  travelled  so  far  with  no  other  purpose  than 
to  bury  himself  in  some  obscure  retreat,  he  might 
have  found,  in  his  own  country,  innumerable  coverts 
sufficiently  dark  to  have  concealed  the  genius  of 
Cowley ;  for  whatever  might  be  his  opinion  of  the 
importunity  with  which  he  should  be  summoned  back 
into  public  life,  a  short  experience  would  have  con- 
vinced him,  that  privation  is  easier  than  acquisition, 
and  that  it  would  require  little  continuance  to  free 
himself  from  the  intrusion  of  the  world.  There  is 
l)ride  enough  in  the  human  heart  to  prevent  much 
desire  of  acquaintance  with  a  man,  by  whom  we  are 
sure  to  be  neglected,  however  his  reputation  for 
science  or  virtue  may  excite  our  curiosity  or  esteem, 
so  that  the  lover  of  retirement  needs  not  be  afraid 
lest  the  respect  of  strangers  should  overwhelm  him 
with  visits.  Even  those  to  whom  he  has  formerlv 
been  known,  will  very  patiently  support  his  absence 
when  they  have  tried  a  little  to  live  without  him, 
and  found  new  diversions  for  those  moments  which 
his  company  contributed  to  exhilarate. 

It  was,  perhaps,  ordained  by  Providence,  to  hinder 
us  from  tyrannizing  over  one  another,  that  no  indi- 
vidual should  be  of  such  importance,  as  to  cause,  by 
his  retirement  or  death,  any  chasm  in  the  world. 
And  Cowley  had  conversed  to  little  purpose  with 
mankind,  if  he  had  never  remarked,  how  soon  the 
useful  friend,  the  gay  companion,  and  the  favoured 
lover,  when  once  they  are  removied  from  before  the 
sight,  give  way  to  the  succession  of  new  objects. 

The  privacy,  therefore,  of  his  hermitage  might 
have  been  safe  enough  from  violation,  though  he 
had  chosen  it  within  the  limits  of  his  native  island ; 
he  might  have  found  here  preservatives  against  the 
vanities  and  vexations  of  the  world,  not  less  effica- 
cious than  those  which  the  woods  or  fields  of  America 

VOL.    XVI.  7 

98  RAMBLER.  NO.    6. 

could  afford  him  ;  but  having  once  his  mind  imbit- 
tered  with  disgust,  he  conceived  it  impossible  to  be 
far  enough  from  the  cause  of  his  uneasiness ;  and 
was  posting  away  with  the  expedition  of  a  coward, 
who,  for  want  of  venturing  to  looli  behind  him,  thinks 
the  enemy  perpetually  at  his  heels. 

When  he  was  interrupted  by  company,  or  fatigued 
with  business,  he  so  strongly  imaged  to  himself  the 
happiness  of  leisure  and  retreat,  that  he  determined 
to  enjoy  them  for  the  future  without  interruption, 
and  to  exclude  forever  all  that  could  deprive  him 
of  his  darling  satisfaction.  He  forgot,  in  the  vehe- 
mence of  desire,  that  solitude  and  quiet  owe  their 
pleasures  to  those  miseries,  which  he  was  so  studi- 
ous to  obviate ;  for  such  are  the  vicissitudes  of  the 
world,  through  all  its  parts,  that  day  and  night, 
labour  and  rest,  hurry  and  retirement,  endear  each 
other ;  such  are  the  changes  that  keep  the  mind  in 
action ;  we  desire,  we  pursue,  we  obtain,  we  are 
satiated ;  we  desire  something  else,  and  begin  a 
new  pursuit. 

If  he  had  proceeded  in  his  project,  and  fixed  his 
habitation  in  the  most  delightful  part  of  the  new 
world,  it  may  be  doubted,  whether  his  distance  from 
the  vanities  of  life  would  have  enabled  him  to  keep 
away  the  vexations.  It  is  common  for  a  man  who 
feels  pain,  to  fancy  that  he  could  bear  it  better  in 
any  other  part.  Cowley  having  known  the  troubles 
and  perplexities  of  a  particular  condition,  readily 
persuaded  himself  that  nothing  worse  was  to  be 
found,  and  that  every  alteration  would  bring  some 
improvement ;  he  never  suspected  that  the  cause  of 
his  unhappiness  was  within,  that  his  own  passions 
were  not  sufficiently  regulated,  and  that  he  was 
harassed  by  his  own  impatience,  which  could  never 
be  without  something  to  awaken  it,  would  accompany 

NO.    7.  KAMBLER.  99 

him  over  the  sea,  and  find  its  way  to  his  American 
Elysium.  He  would,  upon  the  trial,  have  been  soon 
convinced,  that  the  fountain  of  content  must  spring 
up  in  the  mind  ;  and  that  he,  who  has  so  little  know- 
ledge of  human  nature,  as  to  seek  happiness  by 
changing  any  thing,  but  his  own  dispositions,  will 
waste  his  life  in  fruitless  efforts,  and  multiply  the 
griefs  wliich  he  purposes  to  remove. 

No.  7.     TUESDAY,  APRIL  10,  1750. 

0  quiperpetud  mundum  ratione  gubernas, 

Terrarum  coelique  Sator  ! — 

Disjice  terrenes  nebulas  etpondera  molls, 

Atque  tuo  splendore  mica  !    Tu  namque  serenum, 

Tu  requies  tranquilla  piis.     Te  cernere,  Jinis, 

Principium,  vector,  dux,  semita,  terminus,  idem. 


0  thou  whose  power  o'er  moving  worlds  presides, 
Whose  voice  created,  and  wliose  wisdom  guides, 
On  darkling  man  in  pure  efFulgence  shine, 
And  cheer  the  clouded  mind  with  light  divine. 
'Tis  thine  alone  to  calm  the  pious  breast 
With  silent  confidence  and  holy  rest: 
From  thee,  great  God,  we  spring,  to  thee  we  tend, 
Path,  motive,  guide,  original,  and  end. 

The  love  of  retirement  has,  in  all  ages,  adhered 
closely  to  those  minds  which  have  been  most  en- 
larged by  knowledge  or  elevated  by  genius.  Those 
who  enjoyed  every  thing  generally  supposed  to 
confer  ha[)piness,  have  been  forced  to  seek  it  in  the 
shades  of  privacy.      Though  they  possessed  both 

100  RAMBLER.  NO.    7. 

power  and  riches,  and  were,  therefore,  surrounded 
by  men,  who  considered  it  as  their  chief  interest  to 
remove  from  them  everj  thing  that  might  offend 
their  ease  or  interrupt  their  pleasure,  they  have 
soon  felt  the  languors  of  satiety,  and  found  them- 
selves unable  to  pursue  the  race  of  life  without  fre- 
quent respirations  of  intermediate  solitude. 

To  produce  this  disposition  nothing  appears  requi- 
site but  quick  sensibility  and  active  imagination ; 
for,  though  not  devoted  to  virtue  or  science,  the 
man,  whose  faculties  enable  him  to  make  ready 
comparisons  of  the  present  with  the  past,  will  find 
such  a  constant  recurrence  of  the  same  pleasures 
and  troubles,  the  same  expectations  and  disappoint- 
ments, that  he  will  gladly  snatch  an  hour  of  retreat, 
to  let  his  thoughts  expatiate  at  large,  and  seek  for 
that  variety  in  his  own  ideas,  which  the  objects  of 
sense  cannot  afford  him. 

Nor  will  greatness,  or  abundance,  exempt  him 
from  the  importunities  of  this  desire,  since,  if  he  is 
born  to  think,  he  cannot  restrain  himself  from  a 
thousand  inquiries  and  speculations,  which  he  must 
pursue  by  his  own  reason,  and  which  the  splendour 
of  his  condition  can  only  hinder ;  for  those  who  are 
most  exalted  above  dependence  or  control,  are  yet 
condemned  to  pay  so  large  a  tribute  of  their  time 
to  custom,  ceremony,  and  popularity,  that,  accord- 
ing to  the  Greek  proverb,  no  man  in  the  house  is 
more  a  slave  than  the  master. 

When  a  king  asked  Euclid,  the  mathematician, 
whether  he  could  not  explain  his  art  to  him  in  a 
more  compendious  manner,  he  was  answered,  that 
there  was  no  royal  way  to  geometry.  Other  things 
may  be  seized  by  might,  or  purchased  with  money, 
but  knowledge  is  to  be  gained  only  by  study,  and 
study  to  be  prosecuted  only  in  retirement. 

NO.    7.  RAMBLER.  101 

These  are  some  of  the  motives  wliich  have  Iiad 
power  to  sequester  kings  and  heroes  from  the  crowds 
that  soothed  them  with  flatteries,  or  inspirited  them 
with  acchimations  ;  but  their  etficacy  seems  confined 
to  the  higher  mind,  and  to  operate  little  upon  the 
common  classes  of  mankind,  to  whose  conceptions 
the  present  assemblage  of  things  is  adequate,  and 
who  seldom  range  beyond  those  entertainments  and 
vexations,  which  solicit  their  attention  by  pressing 
on  their  senses. 

But  there  is  a  universal  reason  for  some  stated 
intervals  of  solitude,  which  the  institutions  of  the 
church  call  upon  me,  now  especially,  to  mention  ;  a 
reason,  which  extends  as  wide  as  moral  duty,  or  the 
hopes  of  divine  favour  in  a  future  state  ;  and  which 
ought  to  influence  all  ranks  of  life,  and  all  degrees 
of  intellect ;  since  none  can  imagine  themselves  not 
comprehended  in  its  obligation,  but  such  as  determine 
to  set  their  Maker  at  defiance  by  obstinate  wicked- 
ness, or  whose  enthusiastic  security  of  his  approba- 
tion places  them  above  external  ordinances,  and  all 
human  means  of  improvement. 

The  great  task  of  him  who  conducts  his  life  by 
the  precepts  of  religion,  is  to  make  the  future  pre- 
dominate over  the  present,  to  impress  upon  his  mind 
60  strong  a  sense  of  the  importance  of  obedience  to 
the  divine  will,  of  the  value  of  the  reward  promised  to 
virtue,  and  the  terrors  of  the  punishment  denounced 
against  crimes,  as  may  overbear  all  the  tempta- 
tions which  temporal  hope  or  fear  can  bring  in  his 
way,  and  enable  him  to  bid  equal  defiance  to  joy 
and  sorrow,  to  turn  away  at  one  time  from  the  alhire- 
ments  of  ambition,  and  push  forward  at  another 
against  the  threats  of  calamity. 

It  is  not  witliout  reason  tliat  the  apostle  repre- 
sents our  passage  through  tliis  stage  of  our  existence 

102  RAMBLER.  NO.    7. 

by  images  drawn  from  the  alarms  and  solicitude  of 
a  military  life ;  for  we  are  placed  in  such  a  state, 
that  almost  every  thing  about  us  conspires  against 
our  chief  interest.  We  are  in  danger  from  what- 
ever can  get  possession  of  our  thoughts  ;  all  that  can 
excite  in  us  either  pain  or  pleasure  has  a  tendency 
to  obstruct  the  way  that  leads  to  happiness,  and 
either  to  turn  us  aside,  or  retard  our  progress. 

Our  senses,  our  appetites,  and  our  passions,  are 
our  lawful  and  faithful  guides,  in  most  things  that 
relate  solely  to  this  life  ;  and,  therefore,  by  the  hour- 
ly necessity  of  consulting  them,  we  gradually  sink 
into  an  implicit  submission,  and  habitual  confidence. 
Every  act  of  compliance  with  their  motions  facilitates 
a  second  compliance,  every  new  step  towards  de- 
pravity is  made  with  less  reluctance  than  the  former, 
and  thus  the  descent  to  life  merely  sensual  is  per- 
petually accelerated. 

The  senses  have  not  only  that  advantage  over 
conscience,  which  things  necessary  must  always  have 
over  things  chosen,  but  they  have  likewise  a  kind  of 
prescription  in  their  favour.  We  feared  pain  much 
earlier  than  we  apprehended  guilt,  and  were  delight- 
ed with  the  sensations  of  pleasure,  before  we  had 
capacities  to  be  charmed  with  the  beauty  of  recti- 
tude. To  this  power,  thus  early  established,  and 
incessantly  increasing,  it  must  be  remembered,  that 
almost  every  man  has,  in  some  part  of  his  life,  add- 
ed new  strength  by  a  voluntary  or  negligent  sub- 
jection of  himself;  for  who  is  there  that  has  not 
instigated  his  appetites  by  indulgence,  or  suffered 
them  by  an  unresisting  neutrality  to  enlarge  their 
dominion,  and  multiply  their  demands  ? 

From  the  necessity  of  dispossessing  the  sensitive 
faculties  of  the  influence  which  they  must  naturally 
gain  by  this  preoccupation  of  the  soul,  arises  that 

NO.    7.  RAMBLER.  103 

conflict  between  opposite  desires,  in  the  first  endeav- 
ours after  a  religious  life ;  which,  however  enthu- 
siastically it  mav  have  been  described,  or  however 
contemj)tuously  ridiculed,  will  naturally  be  felt  in 
some  degree,  though  varied  without  end,  by  dilFer- 
ent  tempers  of  mind,  and  innumerable  circum- 
stances of  health  or  condition,  greater  or  less  fervour, 
more  or  fewer  temptations  to  relapse. 

From  the  perpetual  necessity  of  consulting  the 
animal  faculties,  in  our  provision  for  the  present 
life,  arises  the  difficulty  of  withstanding  their  im- 
pulses, even  in  cases  where  they  ought  to  be  of  no 
weight ;  for  the  motions  of  sense  are  instantaneous, 
its  objects  strike  unsought ;  we  are  accustomed  to 
follow  its  directions,  and,  therefore,  often  submit  to 
the  sentence  without  examining  the  authority  of  the 

Thus  it  appears,  upon  a  philosophical  estimate, 
that,  supposing  the  mind,  at  any  certain  time,  in  an 
equipoise  between  the  pleasures  of  this  life  and  the 
hopes  of  futurity,  present  objects  falling  more  fre- 
quently into  the  scale,  would  in  time  preponderate, 
and  that  our  regard  for  an  invisible  state  would 
grow  every  moment  weaker,  till  at  last  it  would 
lose  all  its  activity,  and  become  absolutely  without 

To  prevent  this  dreadful  event,  the  balance  is  put 
into  our  own  hands,  and  we  have  power  to  transfer 
the  weight  to  either  side.  The  motives  to  a  life 
of  holiness  are  infinite,  not  less  than  the  favour  or 
anger  of  Omnipotence,  not  less  than  eternity  of  ha})- 
piness  or  misery.  But  these  can  only  influence  our 
conduct  a<  they  gain  our  attention,  which  the  busi- 
ness, or  diversions,  of  the  world  are  always  calling 
off  by  contrary  attracti(jns. 

The  great  art,  therefore,  of  piety,  and  tlie  end  for 

104  RAMBLER.  NO.    7. 

which  all  the  rites  of  religion  seem  to  be  instituted, 
is  the  perpetual  renovation  of  the  motives  to  virtue, 
by  a  voluntary  employment  of  our  mind  in  the  con- 
templation of  its  excellence,  its  importance,  and  its 
necessity ;  which,  in  proportion  as  they  are  more 
frequently  and  more  willingly  revolved,  gain  a  more 
forcible  and  permanent  influence,  till  in  time  they 
become  the  reigning  ideas,  the  standing  principles 
of  action,  and  the  test  by  which  every  thing  pro- 
posed to  the  judgment  is  rejected  or  approved. 

To  facilitate  this  change  of  our  affections,  it  is 
necessary  that  we  weaken  the  temptations  of  the 
world,  by  retiring  at  certain  seasons  from  it :  for  its 
influence  arising  only  from  its  presence,  is  much 
lessened  when  it  becomes  the  object  of  solitary  medi- 
tation. A  constant  residence  amidst  noise  and  pleas- 
ure inevitably  obliterates  the  impressions  of  piety  ; 
and  a  frequent  abstraction  of  ourselves  into  a  state, 
where  this  life,  like  the  next,  operates  only  upon 
the  reason,  will  reinstate  religion  in  its  just  author- 
ity, even  without  those  irradiations  from  above,  the 
hope  of  which  I  have  no  intention  to  withdraw  from 
the  sincere  and  the  diligent. 

This  is  that  conquest  of  the  world  and  of  our- 
selves which  has  been  always  considered  as  the  per- 
fection of  human  nature  ;  and  this  is  only  to  be 
obtained  by  fervent'  prayer,  steady  resolutions,  and 
frequent  retirement  from  folly  and  vanity,  from  the 
cares  of  avarice,  and  the  joys  of  intemperance,  from 
the  lulling  sounds  of  deceitful  flattery,  and  the  tempt- 
ing sight  of  prosperous  wickedness. 

NO.    8.  RAMBLER.  105 

No.  8.     SATURDAY,  APRIL  U,  1750. 

— Patitur  poenas  peccandi  sola  voluntas  ; 
Nam  sceltis  intra  se  taciturn  qui  cogitat  itlliim, 
Facti  aimen  habet. —  juv.  sat.  xiii.  208. 

Foi*  he  that  but  conceives  a  crime  in  thought, 
Contracts  the  danger  of  au  actual  fault.  creech. 

If  the  most  active  and  industrious  of  mankind 
was  able,  at  the  close  of  life,  to  recollect  distinctly 
his  past  moments,  and  distribute  them,  in  a  regular 
account,  according  to  the  manner  in  which  they 
have  been  spent,  it  is  scarcely  to  be  imagined  how 
few  would  be  marked  out  to  the  mind,  by  any  per- 
manent or  visible  effects  ;  how  small  a  proportion 
his  real  action  would  bear  to  his  seeming  possibili- 
ties of  action ;  how  many  chasms  he  would  tind  of 
wide  and  continued  vacuity,  and  how  many  intersti- 
tial spaces  unfilled,  even  in  the  most  tumultuous 
hurries  of  business,  and  the  most  eager  vehemence 
of  pursuit. 

It  is  said  by  modern  philosophers,  that  not  only 
the  o-reat  j^lobes  of  matter  are  thinlv  scattered 
through  the  universe,  but  the  hardest  bodies  are  so 
porous,  that,  if  all  matter  were  compressed  to  perfect 
solidity,  it  might  be  contained  in  a  cube  of  a  few 
feet.  In  like  manner,  if  all  the  em[)loyment  of  life 
were  crowded  into  the  time  which  it  really  occu- 
pied, perhaps  a  few  weeks,  days,  or  hours,  would  be 
sufficient  for  its  accom|)lisliment,  so  far  as  the  mind 
was  engaged  in  the  performance.     For  such  is  the 

106  RAMBLER.  NO.    8. 

inequality  of  our  corporeal  to  our  intellectual  facul- 
ties, that  we  contrive  in  minutes  what  we  execute 
in  years,  and  the  soul  often  stands  an  idle  spectator 
of  the  labour  of  the  hands  and  expedition  of  the 

For  this  reason,  the  ancient  generals  often  found 
themselves  at  leisure  to  pursue  the  study  of  philos- 
ophy in  the  camp ;  and  Lucan,  with  historical  vera- 
city, makes  Caesar  relate  of  himself,  that  he  noted 
the  revolutions  of  the  stars  in  the  midst  of  prepara- 
tions for  battle. 

— Media  inter  prcelia  semper 
Sideribiis,  cosUque  plagis,  superisque  vacavi. 

Amid  the  storms  of  war,  with  curious  eyes 
I  trace  the  planets  and  survey  the  skies. 

That  the  soul  always  exerts  her  peculiar  powers, 
with  greater  or  less  force,  is  very  probable,  though 
the  common  occasions  of  our  present  condition  re- 
quire but  a  small  part  of  that  incessant  cogitation : 
and  by  the  natural  frame  of  our  bodies,  and  general 
combination  of  the  world,  we  are  so  frequently  con- 
demned to  inactivity,  that  as  through  all  our  time 
we  are  thinking,  so  for  a  great  part  of  our  time  we 
can  only  think. 

Lest  a  power  so  restless  should  be  either  unprofit- 
ably  or  hurtfully  employed,  and  the  superfluities 
of  intellect  run  to  waste,  it  is  no  vain  speculation  to 
consider  how  we  may  govern  our  thoughts,  restrain 
them  from  irregular  motions,  or  confine  them  from 
boundless  dissipation. 

How  the  understanding  is  best  conducted  to  the 
knowledge  of  science,  by  what  steps  it  is  to  be  led 
forwards  in  its  pursuit,  how  it  is  to  be  cured  of  its 
defects,  and  habituated  to  new  studies,  has  been  the 

NO.    8.  RAMBLER.  107 

inquiry  of  many  acute  and  learned  men,  whose  ob- 
servations I  shall  not  either  adopt  or  censure  ;  my 
purpose  being  to  consider  the  moral  discii)line  of  the 
mind,  and  to  promote  the  increase  of  virtue  rather 
than  of  learning. 

Tills  inquiry  seems  to  have  been  neglected  for 
want  of  remembering  that  all  action  has  its  orisriii 
in  the  mind,  and  that,  therefore,  tosutFertiie  thoughts 
to  be  vitiated,  is  to  poison  the  fountains  of  morality  ; 
irregular  desires  will  produce  licentious  practices ; 
what  men  allow  themselves  to  wish  they  will  soon 
believe,  and  will  be  at  last  incited  to  execute  what 
they  please  themselves  with  contriving. 

For  this  reason  the  casuists  of  the  Romish  church, 
who  gain,  by  confession,  great  opportunities  of 
knowing. human  nature,  have  generally  determined 
that  what  it  is  a  crime  to  do,  it  is  a  crime  to  think. 
Since  by  revolving  with  pleasure  the  facility,  safety, 
or  advantage  of  a  wicked  deed,  a  man  soon  begins 
to  find  his  constancy  relax,  and  his  detestation  soften  ; 
the  happiness  of  success  glittering  before  him,  with- 
draws his  attention  from  the  atrociousness  of  the 
guilt,  and  acts  are  at  last  confidently  perpetrated, 
of  which  the  first  conception  only  crept  into  the 
mind,  disguised  in  pleasing  complications,  and  per- 
mitted ratiier  than  invited. 

No  man  has  ever  been  drawn  to  crimes  by  love 
or  jealousy,  envy,  or  hatred,  but  he  can  tell  how 
easily  he  might  at  first  have  repelled  the  tem[)tation, 
how  readily  his  mind  would  have  obeyed  a  call  to 
any  other  object,  and  how  weak  his  passion  has  been 
after  some  casual  avocation,  till  he  has  recalled  it 
again  to  his  heart,  and  revived  the  vi[)er  by  too 
warm  a  fondness. 

Such,  tlierefore,  is  the  importance  of  k<M»ping 
reason  a  constant  guard  over  imagination,  that  we 

108  RAMBLER.  NO.    8. 

have  otherwise  no  security  for  our  own  virtue,  but 
may  corrupt  our  hearts  in  the  most  recluse  solitude, 
with  more  pernicious  and  tyrannical  appetites  and 
wishes  than  the  commerce  of  the  world  will  gener- 
ally produce ;  for  we  are  easily  shocked  by  crimes 
which  appear  at  once  in  their  full  magnitude  ;  but 
the  gradual  growth  of  our  own  wickedness,  endeared 
by  interest,  and  palliated  by  all  the  artifices  of  self- 
deceit,  gives  us  time  to  form  distinctions  in  our  own 
favour,  and  reason,  by  degrees,  submits  to  absurdity, 
as  the  eye  is  in  time  accommodated  to  darkness. 

In  this  disease  of  the  soul,  it  is  of  the  utmost  im- 
portance to  apply  remedies  at  the  beginning ;  and, 
therefore,  I  shall  endeavour  to  show  what  thoughts 
are  to  be  rejected  or  improved,  as  they  regard  the 
past,  present,  or  future  ;  in  hopes  that  some  may  be 
awakened  to  caution  and  vigilance,  who,  perhaps, 
indulge  themselves  in  dangerous  dreams :  so  much 
the  more  dangerous,  because,  being  yet  only  dreams, 
they  are  concluded  innocent. 

The  recollection  of  the  past  is  only  useful  by  way 
of  provision  for  the  future  ;  and,  therefore,  in  review- 
ing all  occurrences  that  fall  under  a  religious  con- 
sideration, it  is  proper  that  a  man  stop  at  the  first 
thoughts,  to  remark  how  he  was  led  thither,  and 
why  he  continues  the  reflection.  If  he  is  dwelling 
with  delight  upon  a  stratagem  of  successful  fraud,  a 
night  of  licentious  riot,  or  an  intrigue  of  guilty 
pleasure,  let  him  summon  oif  his  imagination  as  from 
an  unlawful  pursuit,  expel  those  passages  from  his 
remembrance,  of  which,  though  he  cannot  seriously 
approve  them,  the  pleasure  overpowers  the  guilt, 
and  refer  them  to  a  future  hour,  when  they  may  be 
considered  with  greater  safety.  Such  an  hour  will 
certainly  come  ;  for  the  impressions  of  past  pleasure 
are  always  lessening,  but  the  sense  of  guilt,  which 
respects  futurity,  continues  the  same. 

NO.  8.  RAMBLER.  109 

The  serious  and  impartial  retrospect  of  our  con- 
duct is  indisputably  necessary  to  the  confirmation 
or  recovery  of  virtue,  and  is,  therefore,  recommend- 
ed under  tiie  name  of  self-examination,  by  divines, 
as  the  first  act  previous  to  repentance.  It  is,  indeed, 
of  so  great  use,  that  without  it  we  should  always  be 
to  begin  life,  be  seduced  forever  by  the  same  allure- 
ments, and  misled  by  the  same  fallacies.  But  in 
order  that  we  may  not  lose  the  advantage  of  our 
experience,  we  must  endeavour  to  see  every  thing 
in  its  proper  form,  and  excite  in  ourselves  those 
sentiments  which  tlie  great  Author  of  nature  has 
decreed  the  concomitants  or  followers  of  good  or 
bad  actions. 

Mijd'  VTTVO  ■  /laXaKOiGtv  err'  bn/mai  TrpocSe^aadai, 
Uplv  nov  rjneptvCjv  epyuv  rpl^  tKaoTOV  ETiiT^ddv ' 
Till  nrapiiStjv  ;  tI  c5'  tpe^a  ;  tI  fiot  dtoi'  ovk  eTe?J.a&r] ; 
'Ap^iifievog  6'  utto  TTpioTov  C7re^<i?i  •  kuI  fieTSKetTa, 
Aet.?M  ukv  eKTrpij^ag^  k7Tf!T?ofjaceo,  XPV'^'''^  ^^e,  rip-ov. 

"  Let  not  sleep,"  says  Pythagoras,  "  fall  upon  thy 
eyes  till  thou  hast  thrice  reviewed  the  transactions 
of  the  past  day.  "Where  have  I  turned  aside  from 
rectitude?  What  liave  I  been  doing?  What  have 
I  left  undone,  which  I  ought  to  have  done?  Bejjin 
thus  from  the  first  act,  and  proceed,  and  in  conclu- 
sion, at  the  ill  which  thou  hast  done  be  troubled, 
and  rejoice  for  the  good." 

Our  thoughts  on  present  things  being  determined 
by  the  objects  before  us,  fall  not  under  those  indul- 
gences, or  excursions,  whicii  I  am  now  considering. 
But  I  cannot  forbear,  under  this  head,  to  caution 
pious  and  tender  minds,  tliat  are  disturbed  by  the 
irruptions  of  wicked  imaginations,  against  too  great 
dejection  and  too  anxious  alarms  ;   for  tht)Ughts  are 

110  RAMBLER.  NO.    8. 

only  criminal,  when  thej  are  first  chosen,  and  then 
voluntarily  continued. 

Evil  into  the  mind  of  God  or  man 

May  come  and  go,  so  unapproved,  and  leave 

No  spot  or  blame  behind.  milton's.  p.  l.  iii.  117. 

In  futurity  chiefly  the  snares  are  lodged,  by  which 
the  imagination  is  entangled.  Futurity  is  the  proper 
abode  of  hope  and  fear,  with  all  their  train  and  prog- 
eny of  subordinate  apprehensions  and  desires.  In 
futurity  events  and  chances  are  yet  floating  at  large, 
without  apparent  connection  with  their  causes,  and 
we,  therefore,  easily  indulge  the  liberty  of  gratifying 
ourselves  with  a  pleasing  choice.  To  pick  and  cull 
among  possible  advantages  is,  as  the  civil  law  terms 
it,  in  vacuum  veriire  to  take  what  belongs  to  nobody ; 
but  it  has  this  hazard  in  it,  that  we  shall  be  un- 
willing to  quit  what  we  have  seized  though  an 
owner  should  be  found.  It  is  easy  to  think  on  that 
which  may  be  gained,  till  at  last  we  resolve  to  gain 
it,  and  to  image  the  happiness  of  particular  condi- 
tions till  we  can  be  easy  in  no  other.  We  ought, 
at  least,  to  let  our  desires  fix  upon  nothing  in  an- 
other's power  for  the  sake  of  our  quiet,  or  in  another's 
possession  for  the  sake  of  our  innocence.  When  a 
man  finds  himself  led,  though  by  a  train  of  honest 
sentiments,  to  wish  for  that  to  which  he  has  no  right, 
he  should  start  back  as  from  a  pitfall  covered  with 
flowers.  He  that  fancies  he  should  benefit  the 
public  more  in  a  great  station  than  the  man  that 
fills  it,  will  in  time  imagine  it  an  act  of  virtue  to 
supplant  him  ;  and  as  opposition  readily  kindles  into 
hatred,  his  eagerness  to  do  that  good,  to  which  he 
is  not  called,  will  betray  him  to  crimes,  w'hich,  in  his 
original  scheme  were  never  proposed. 

He,  therefore,  that  would  govern  his  actions  by 

NO.    9.  RAMBLER.  Ill 

the  laws  of  virtue,  must  regulate  his  thoughts  by 
those  of  reason ;  he  must  keep  guilt  from  the  re- 
cesses of  his  heart,  and  remember  that  the  pleasures 
of  fancj,  and  the  emotions  of  desire,  are  more 
dangerous  as  they  are  more  hidden,  since  they 
escape  the  awe  of  observation,  and  operate  equally 
in  every  situation,  without  the  concurrence  of  exter- 
nal opportunities. 

No.  9.     TUESDAY,  APRIL  17,  1750. 

Quod  sis  esse  veils,  nihilque  malis. 

Choose  what  you  are ;  no  other  state  prefer. 


It  is  justly  remarked  by  Horace,  that  howsoever 
every  man  may  complain  occasionally  of  the  hard- 
ships of  his  condition,  he  is  seldom  williiig  to  change 
it  for  any  other  on  the  same  level ;  for  whether  it 
be  that  he,  who  follows  an  employment,  made  choice 
of  it  at  first  on  account  of  its  suitableness  to  his  in- 
clination ;  or  that  when  accident,  or  the  determina- 
tion of  others,  have  placed  him  in  a  particular 
station,  he,  by  endeavouring  to  reconcile  himself  to 
it,  gets  the  custom  of  viewing  it  only  on  the  fairest 
side  ;  or  whether  every  man  thinks  that  class  to 
which  he  belongs  the  most  illustrious,  merely  be- 
cause he  has  honoured  it  with  his  name  ;  it  is  cer- 
tain that,  wliatever  be  the  reason,  most  men  have  a 
very  strong  and  active  prejudice  in  favour  of  their 

112  RAMBLER.  NO.    9. 

own  vocation,  always  working  upon  their  minds,  and 
influencing  their  behaviour. 

This  partiality  is  sufficiently  visible  in  every  rank 
of  the  human  species  ;  but  it  exerts  itself  more  fre- 
quently and  with  greater  force  among  those  who 
have  never  learned  to  conceal  their  sentiments  for 
reasons  of  policy,  or  to  model  their  expi-essions  by 
the  laws  of  politeness^  and,  therefore,  the  chief  con- 
tests of  wit  among  artificers  and  handicraftsmen 
arise  from  a  mutual  endeavour  to  exalt  one  trade  by 
depreciating  another. 

From  the  same  principle  are  derived  many  con- 
solations to  alleviate  the  incojiveniencies  to  which 
every  calling  is  peculiarly  exposed.  A  blacksmith 
was  lately  pleasing  himself  at  his  anvil,  with  ob- 
serving that,  though  his  trade  was  hot  and  sooty, 
laborious  and  unhealthy,  yet  he  had  the  honour  of 
living  by  his  hammer,  he  got  his  bread  like  a  man, 
and  if  his  son  should  rise  in  the  world,  and  keep  his 
coach,  nobody  could  reproach  him  that  his  father 
was  a  tailor. 

A  man,  truly  zealous  for  his  fraternity,  is  never 
so  irresistibly  flattered,  as  when  some  rival  calling  is 
mentioned  with  contempt.  Upon  this  principle,  a 
linen-draper  boasted  that  he  had  got  a  new  customer, 
whom  he  could  safely  trust,  for  he  could  have  no 
doubt  of  his  honesty,  since  it  was  known,  from  un- 
questionable authority,  that  he  was  now  filing  a  bill 
in  chancery  to  delay  payment  for  the  clothes  which 
he  had  worn  the  last  seven  years  ;  and  he  himself 
had  heard  him  declare,  in  a  public  coffee-house, 
that  he  looked  upon  the  whole  generation  of  woollen- 
drapers  to  be  such  despicable  wretches,  that  no 
gentleman  ought  to  pay  them. 

It  has  been  observed  that  physicians  and  lawyers 
are  no  friends  to  religion ;   and  many  conjectures 

NO.    9.  RAMBLtll.  113 

have  been  formed  to  discover  the  reason  of  such  a 
combination  between  men  who  agree  in  nothing  else, 
and  who  seem  less  to  be  affected,  in  their  own  prov- 
inces, by  religious  opinions,  than  any  other  part  of 
the  community.  The  truth  is,  very  few  of  them 
have  thought  about  religion  ;  but  they  have  all  seen 
a  parson  ;  seen  him  in  a  habit  different  from  tluMr 
own,  and,  therefore,  declared' war  agamst  him.  A 
young  student  from  the  inns  of  court,  who  has  often 
attacked  the  curate  of  his  father's  parish  with  such 
arguments  as  his  acquaintances  could  furnish,  and 
returned  to  town  without  success,  is  now  gone  down 
with  a  resolution  to  destroy  him  ;  for  he  has  learned 
at  last  how  to  manage  a  prig,  and  if  he  pretends  to 
hold  him  again  to  syllogism,  he  has  a  catch  in  re- 
serve, which  neither  logic  nor  metaphysics  can 

I  laus;h  to  think  how  your  unshaken  Cato 
Will  look  aghast,  when  unforeseen  destruction 
Pours  in  upon  him  thus. 

The  malign  it  v  of  soldiers  and  sailors  against  each 
other  has  been  often  experienced  at  the  cost  of  their 
country,  and,  perhaps,  no  orders  of  men  have  an 
enmity  of  more  acrimony,  or  longer  continuance. 
When,  upon  our  late  successes  at  sea,  some  new  reg- 
ulations were  concerted  for  establishing  the  rank 
of  the  naval  commanders,  a  captain  of  foot  very 
acutely  remarked,  that  nothing  was  more  absurd 
than  to  give  any  honorary  rewards  to  seamen,  "  for 
honour,"  says  he,  "  ought  only  to  be  won  by  bravery, 
and  all  the  world  knows  that  in  a  sea-light  there 
is  no  danger,  and,  therefore,  no  evidence  of  courage." 

But  although  this  general  desire  of  aggrandizing 
themselves  by  raising  their  profession,  betrays  men 
to   a   thousand   ridiculous   and  mischievous  acts  of 

VOL.    XYI.  8 

114  RAMBLER.  NO.    9. 

supplantation  and  detraction,  yet  as  almost  all  pas- 
sions have  their  good  as  well  as  bad  effects,  it  like- 
wise excites  ingenuity,  and  sometimes  raises  an 
honest  and  useful  emulation  of  dihgence.  It  may 
be  observed  in  general,  that  no  trade  had  ever 
reached  the  excellence  to  which  it  is  now  im- 
proved, had  its  professors  looked  upon  it  with  the 
eyes  of  indifferent  spectators ;  the  advances,  from 
the  first  rude  essays,  must  have  been  made  by 
men  who  valued  themselves  for  performances,  for 
which  scarce  any  other  would  be  persuaded  to 
esteem  them. 

It  is  pleasing  to  contemplate  a  manufacture  rising 
gradually  from  its  first  mean  state  by  the  successive 
labours  of  innumerable  minds ;  to  consider  the  first 
hollow  trunk  of  an  oak,  in  which,  perhaps,  the  shep- 
herd could  scarce  venture  to  cross  a  brook  swelled 
with  a  shower,  enlarged  at  last  into  a  ship  of  war, 
attacking  fortresses,  terrifying  nations,  setting  storms 
and  billows  at  defiance,  and  visiting  the  remotest 
parts  of  the  globe.  And  it  might  contribute  to  dis- 
pose us  to  a  kinder  regard  for  the  labours  of  one 
another,  if  we  were  to  consider  from  what  unprom- 
ising beginnings  the  most  useful  productions  of  art 
have  probably  arisen.  Who,  when  he  saw  the  first 
sand  or  ashes,  by  a  casual  intenseness  of  heat  melted 
into  a  metalline  form,  rugged  with  excrescences,  and 
clouded  with  impurities,  would  have  imagined,  that 
in  this  shapeless  lump  lay  concealed  so  many  con- 
veniences of  life,  as  Avould  in  time  constitute  a  great 
part  of  the  happiness  of  the  world  ?  Yet,  by  some 
such  fortuitous  liquefaction,  was  mankind  taught  to 
procure  a  body  at  once  in  a  high  degree  solid  and 
transparent,  which  might  admit  the  light  of  the  sun, 
and  exclude  the  violence  of  the  wind  ;  which  might 
extend  the  sight  of  the   philosopher  to  new  ranges 

NO.    9.  RAMBLER.  115 

of  existence,  and  cliarni  him  at  one  time  with  the 
unbounded  extent  of  the  material  creation,  and  at 
another  with  the  endless  subordination  of  animal 
life ;  and,  what  is  yet  of  more  importance,  might 
supply  the  decays  of  nature,  and  succour  old  age 
with  subsidiary  sight.  Thus  was  the  first  artificer 
in  glass  employed,  though  without  his  own  know- 
ledge or  expectation.  He  was  facilitating  and  pro- 
longing the  enjoyment  of  light,  enlarging  the  avenues 
of  science,  and  conferring  the  highest  and  most 
lasting  pleasures ;  he  was  enabling  the  student  to 
contemplate  nature;  and  the  beauty  to  behold 

This  passion  for  the  honour  of  a  profession,  like 
tliat  for  the  grandeur  of  our  own  country,  is  to  be 
regulated,  not  extinguished.  Every  man,  from  the 
highest  to  the  lowest  station,  ought  to  warm  his 
heart  and  animate  his  endeavours  with  the  hopes 
of  being  useful  to  the  world,  by  advancing  the  art 
which  it  is  his  lot  to  exercise ;  and  for  that  end  he 
must  necessarily  consider  the  whole  extent  of  its 
application,  and  the  whole  weight  of  its  importance. 
Hut  let  him  not  too  readily  imagine  that  another  is 
ill  employed,  because,  for  want  of  fuller  knowledge 
of  his  business,  he  is  not  able  to  comprehend  its 
dignity.  Every  man  ought  to  endeavour  at  emi- 
nence, not  by  pulling  others  down,  but  by  raising 
himself,  and  enjoy  the  pleasure  of  his  own  superi- 
ority, whether  imaginary  or  real,  without  interrupt- 
ing others  in  the  same  felicity.  The  philosopher  may 
\cry  justly  be  delighted  with  the  extent  of  his  views, 
and  the  artificer  with  the  readiness  of  his  hands; 
but  let  the  one  remember,  that,  without  mechanical 
ix'rformances,  refined  speculation  is  an  empty  dream, 
and  the  other,  that,  witliout  theoretical  reasoning, 
dexterity  is  little  more  than  a  brute  instinct. 

116  RAMBLER.  NO.    10. 

No.  10.     SATURDAY,  APRIL  21,  1750. 

Posthabui  iamen  ilhrum  mea  seria  ludo. 

VIRG.  ECL.  vii.   17. 

For  trifling  sports  I  quitted  grave  affairs. 

The  number  of  correspondents  which  increases 
every  day  upon  me,  shows  that  my  paper  is  at  least 
distinguished  from  the  common  productions  of  the 
press.  It  is  no  less  a  proof  of  eminence  to  have 
many  enemies  than  many  friends,  and  I  look  upon 
every  letter,  whether  it  contains  encomiums  or  re- 
proaches, as  an  equal  attestation  of  rising  credit. 
The  only  pain,  which  I  can  feel  from  my  corre- 
spondence, is  the  fear  of  disgusting  those,  whose 
letters  I  shall  neglect ;  and,  therefore,  I  take  this 
opportunity  of  reminding  them,  that  in  disapproving 
their  attempts,  whenever  it  may  happen,  I  only 
return  the  treatment  which  I  often  receive.  Be- 
sides, many  particular  motives  influence  a  writer, 
known  only  to  himself,  or  his  private  friends  ;  and 
it  may  be  justly  concluded,  that,  not  all  letters  which 
are  postponed  are  rejected,  nor  all  that  are  rejected 
critically  condemned. 

Having  thus  eased  my  heart  of  the  only  appre- 
hension that  sat  heavy  on  it,  I  can  please  myself 
with  the  candour  of  Benevolus,  who  encourages  me 
to  proceed,  without  sinking  under  the  anger  of  Flir- 
tilla,  who  quarrels  with  me  for  being  old  and  ugly, 
and  for  wanting  both  activity  of  body  and  sprightli- 
ness  of  mind  ;  feeds  her  monkey  with  my  lucubra- 

NO.    10.  RAMBLER.  117 

tions,  and  refuses  any  reconciliation,  till  I  have 
ap{)eared  in  vindication  of  masquerades.  That  she 
may  not,  however,  imagine  me  without  support,  and 
left  to  rest  wholly  upon  my  own  fortitude,  I  shall 
now  publish  some  letters  which  I  have  received 
from  men  as  well  dressed,  and  as  handsome,  as  her 
favourite ;  and  others  from  ladies,  whom  I  sincerely 
believe  as  young,  as  rich,  as  gay,  as  pretty,  as 
fashionable,  and  as  often  toasted  and  treated  as 

"  A  set  of  candid  readers  send  their  respects  to 
The  Rambler,  and  acknowledge  his  merit  in  so  well 
beginning  a  work  that  may  be  of  public  benefit. 
But,  superior  as  his  genius  is  to  the  impertinences 
of  a  tritiing  age,  they  cannot  help  a  wish,  that  he 
would  condescend  to  the  weakness  of  minds  soft- 
ened by  perpetual  amusements,  and  now  and  then 
throw  in,  like  his  predecessors,  some  papers  of  a 
gay  and  humorous  turn.  Too  fair  a  field  now  lies 
open,  with  too  plentiful  a  harvest  of  follies  !  let  the 
cheerful  Thalia  put  in  her  sickle,  and,  singing  at 
her  work,  deck  her  hair  with  red  and  blue." 


"  A  lady  sends  her  compliments  to  The  Rambler, 
and  desires  to  know  by  what  other  name  she  may 
direct  to  him  ;  what  are  his  set  of  friends,  his  amuse- 
ments ;  what  his  way  of  thinking,  with  regard  to  the 
living  world,  and  its  ways  ;  in  short,  whether  he  is 
a  person  now  alive,  and  in  town  ?  If  he  be,  she 
will  do  herself  the  honour  to  write  to  him  pretty 
often,  and  hopes,  from  time  to  time,  to  be  the  better 
for  his  advice  and  animadversions ;  for  his  animad- 
versions on  her  neighbours  at  least.  But,  if  he  is  a 
mere  essayist,  and  troubles  not  himself  with  the 
manners  of  the   age,  she  is  sorry  to  tell  him,  that 

118  RAMBLER.  NO.    10. 

even  the  genius  and  correctness  of  an  Addison  will 
not  secure  him  from  neglect." 

No  man  is  so  much  abstracted  from  common  life, 
as  not  to  feel  a  particular  pleasure  from  the  regard 
of  the  female  world  ;  the  candid  writers  of  the  first 
billet  will  not  be  otfended,  that  my  haste  to  satisfy 
a  lady  has  hurried  their  address  too  soon  out  of  my 
mind,  and  that  I  refer  them  for  a  reply  to  some 
future  paper,  in  order  to  tell  this  curious  inquirer 
after  my  other  name,  the  answer  of  a  philosopher 
to  a  man,  who,  meeting  him  in  the  street  desired  to 
see  what  he  carried  under  his  cloak ;  "  I  carry  it 
there,"  says  he,  "  that  you  may  not  see  it."  But, 
though  she  is  never  to  know  my  name,  she  may 
often  see  my  face  ;  for  I  am  of  her  opinion,  that  a 
diurnal  writer  ought  to  view  the  world,  and  that  he 
who  neglects  his  contemporaries,  may  be,  with  jus- 
tice, neglected  by  them. 

"  Lady  Racket  sends  compliments  to  The  Ram- 
bler, and  lets  him  know,  she  shall  have  cards  at  her 
house,  every  Sunday,  the  remainder  of  the  season, 
where  he  will  be  sure  of  meeting  all  the  good  com- 
pany in  town.  By  this  means  she  hopes  to  see  his 
papers  interspersed  with  living  characters.  She 
longs  to  see  the  torch  of  truth  produced  at  an  assem- 
bly, and  to  admire  the  charming  lustre  it  will  throw 
on  the  jewels,  complexions,  and  behaviour,  of  every 
dear  creature  there." 

It  is  a  rule  with  me  to  receive  every  offer  with 
the  same  civility  as  it  is  made;  and,  therefore, 
though  Lady  Racket  may  have  had  some  reason  to 
guess,  that  I  seldom  frequent  card-tables  on  Sun- 
days, I  shall  not  insist  upon  an  exception,  which 

NO.    10.  RAMIJLER.  119 

may  to  her  appear  of  so  little  force.  My  business 
has  been  to  view,  as  oj)port unity  was  offered,  every 
place  in  which  mankind  was  to  be  seen ;  but  at  card- 
tables,  however  brilliant,  I  have  always  thought  my 
visit  lost,  for  I  could  know  nothing  of  the  company, 
but  their  clothes  and  their  faces.  I  saw  their  looks 
clouded  at  the  beginning  of  every  game  with  an 
uniform  solicitude,  now  and  then  in  its  progress 
varied  with  a  short  triumph,  at  one  time  wrinkled 
with  cunning,  at  another  deadened  with  despond- 
ency, or,  by  accident,  flushed  with  rage  at  the  un- 
skilful or  unlucky  play  of  a  partner.  From  such  as- 
semblies, in  whatever  humour  I  happened  to  enter 
them,  I  was  quickly  forced  to  retire  ;  they  were  too 
trifling  for  me,  when  I  was  grave,  and  too  dull, 
when  I  was  cheerful. 

Yet  I  cannot  but  value  myself  upon  this  token 
of  regard  from  a  lady  who  is  not  afraid  to  stand  be- 
fore '  the  torch  of  truth.'  Let  her  not,  however,  con- 
sult her  curiosity  more  than  her  prudence ;  but 
reflect  a  moment  on  the  fate  of  Semele,  who  might 
have  lived  the  favourite  of  Jupiter,  if  she  could  have 
been  content  without  his  thunder.  It  is  dangerous 
for  mortal  beauty,  or  terrestrial  virtue,  to  be  ex- 
amined by  too  strong  a  light.  The  torch  of  truth 
shows  much  that  we  cannot,  and  all  that  we  would 
not  see.  In  a  face  dimpled  with  smiles,  it  has  often 
discovered  malevolence  and  envy,  and  detected 
under  jewels  and  brocade,  the  frightful  forms  of 
poverty  and  distress.  A  fine  hand  of  cards  has 
changed  before  it  into  a  thousand  spectres  of  sick- 
ness, misery,  and  vexation  ;  and  immense  sums  of 
money,  while  the  winner  counted  them  with  trans- 
port, have,  at  the  first  glimpse  of  this  unwelcome 
lustre,  vanished  from  before  him.  If  her  ladyship 
therefore  designs  to  continue  her  assembly,  I  would 

120  RAMBLER.  NO.   10, 

advise  her  to  shun  such  dangerous  experiments,  to 
satisfy  herself  with  common  appearances,  and  to  light 
up  her  apartments  rather  with  myrtle  than  the  torch 
of  truth. 

"  A  modest  young  man  sends  his  service  to  the 
author  of  The  Rambler,  and  will  be  very  willing  to 
assist  him  in  his  work,  but  is  sadly  afraid  of  being 
discouraged  by  having  his  first  essay  rejected,  a  dis- 
grace he  has  wofully  experienced  in  every  offer  he 
had  made  of  it  to  every  new  writer  of  every  new 
paper ;  but  he  comforts  himself  by  thinking,  with- 
out vanity,  that  this  has  been  from  a  peculiar  fjivour 
of  the  muses,  who  saved  his  performance  from  be- 
ing buried  in  trash,  and  reserved  it  to  appear  with 
lustre  in  The  Rambler." 

I  am  equally  a  friend  to  modesty  and  enter- 
prise ;  and,  therefore,  shall  think  it  an  honour  to 
correspond  with  a  young  man  who  possesses  both  in 
so  eminent  a  degree.  Youth  is,  indeed,  the  time  in 
which  these  qualities  ought  chiefly  to  be  found ; 
modesty  suits  well  with  inexperience,  and  enterprise 
with  health  and  vigour,  and  an  extensive  prospect 
of  life.  One  of  my  predecessors  has  justly  observed, 
that  though  modesty  has  an  amiable  and  winning 
appearance,  it  ought  not  to  hinder  the  exertion 
of  the  active  powers,  but  that  a  man  should  show, 
under  his  blushes,  a  latent  resolution.  This  point 
of  perfection,  nice  as  it  is,  my  correspondent  seems 
to  have  attained.  That  he  is  modest,  his  own  dec- 
laration may  evince ;  and,  I  think,  the  latent  reso- 
lution may  be  discovered  in  his  letter  by  an  acute 
observer.  I  will  advise  him,  since  he  so  well  de- 
serves my  precepts,  not  to  be  discouraged,  though 
The  Rambler  should  prove  equally  envious,  or  taste- 

NO.    10.  RAMBLER.  121 

less,  with  the  rest  of  this  fraternity.  If  his  paper  is 
refused,  the  presses  of  EiigUiiid  are  open,  let  him 
try  the  judgment  of  the  public.  If,  as  it  has  some- 
times happened  in  general  combinations  against 
merit,  he  cannot  persuade  the  world  to  buy  his 
works,  he  may  present  them  to  his  friends  ;  and  if 
his  friends  are  seized  with  the  epidemical  infatua- 
tion, and  cannot  find  his  genius,  or  will  not  confess 
it,  let  him  then  refer  his  cause  to  posterity,  and 
reserve  llis  labours  for  a  wiser  age. 

Thus  have  I  dispatched  some  of  my  correspond- 
ents in  the  usual  manner,  with  fair  w^ords,  and  gen- 
eral civility.  But  to  Flirtilla,  the  gay  Flirtilla, 
what  shall  I  reply  ?  Unable  as  I  am  to  fly,  at  her 
command,  over  land  and  seas,  or  to  supply  her,  from 
week  to  week,  with  the  fashions  of  Paris,  or  the 
intrigues  of  Madrid,  I  am  yet  not  willing  to  incur 
her  further  displeasure,  and  would  save  my  papers 
from  her  monkey  on  any  reasonable  terms.  By 
what  propitiation,  therefore,  may  I  atone  for  my 
former  gravity,  and  open,  without  trembling,  the 
future  letters  of  this  sprightly  persecutor?  To  write 
in  defence  of  masquerades  is  no  easy  task  ;  yet  some- 
thing difficult  and  daring  may  well  be  required,  as 
the  price  of  so  important  an  approbation.  I  there- 
fore consulted,  in  this  great  emergency,  a  man  of 
high  reputation  in  gay  life,  who  having  added  to 
his  other  accomplishments  no  mean  proficiency  in 
the  miiuite  i)hilosophy,  after  the  fifth  perusal  of  her 
letter,  broke  out  with  rapture  into  tliese  words: 
'  And  can  you,  Mr.  Rambler,  stand  out  against  this 
charming  creature?  let  her  know,  at  least,  that  from 
this  moment  Nigrinus  devotes  his  life  and  his  labours 
to  her  service.  Is  there  any  stubborn  prejudice  of 
education,  that  stands  between  thee  and  the  most 
amiable  of  mankind?     Behold,  Flirtilla,  at  thy  feet, 

122  RAMBLER.  NO.    10. 

a  man  grown  gray  in  the  study  of  those  noble  arts 
by  which  right  and  wrong  may  be  confounded ;  by 
which  reason  may  be  blinded,  when  we  have  a  mind 
to  escape  from  her  inspection ;  and  caprice  and  ap- 
petite instated  in  uncontrolled  command  and  bound- 
less dominion  !  Such  a  casuist  may  surely  engage, 
with  certainty  of  success,  in  vindication  of  an  enter- 
tainment, which  in  an  instant  gives  confidence  to  the 
timorous,  and  kindless  ardour  in  the  cold ;  an  enter- 
tainment where  the  vigilance  of  jealousy  has  so  often 
been  eluded,  and  the  virgin  is  set  free  from  the  ne- 
cessity of  languishing  in  silence  ;  where  all  the  out- 
works of  chastity  are  at  once  demolished  ;  where  the 
heart  is  laid  open  without  a  blush ;  where  bash- 
fulness  may  survive  virtue,  and  no  wish  is  crushed 
under  the  frown  of  modesty.  Far  weaker  infiuence 
than  Flirtilla's  might  gain  over  an  advocate  for  such 
amusements.  It  was  declared  by  Pompey,  that,  if 
the  commonwealth  was  violated,  he  could  stamp 
with  his  foot,  and  raise  an  army  out  of  the  ground ; 
if  the  rights  of  pleasure  are  again  invaded,  let  but 
Flirtilla  crack  her  fan ;  neither  pens,  nor  swords, 
shall  be  wanting  at  the  summons  ;  the  wit  and  the 
colonel  shall  march  out  at  her  command,  and  neither 
law  nor  reason  shall  stand  before  us.' 

NO.    11.  BAMBLER.  123 

No.  11.     TUESDAY,  APRIL  24,  1750. 

Non  Dlndymene,  non  ndytis  quntit 
Mcntem  sactrc/uttim  incola  Pytliiiis, 
Non  Liber  ceque,  non  acuta 
Sic  ffeminant  Corybantes  CBi'a, 

Tristes  ut  ivce. —  hor.  car.  i.  16.  5. 

Yet  oh !  remember,  nor  the  god  of  wine, 

Nor  Pytliian  Phoebus  from  his  inmost  shrine, 

Nor  Dintlyraene,  nor  her  priests  possest. 

Can  with  their  sounding  cymbals  shake  the  breast. 

Like  furious  anger.  francis. 

The  maxim  which  Periander,  of  Corinth,  one  of 
the  seven  sages  of  Greece,  left  as  a  memorial  of  his 
knowledge  and  benevolence,  was  x^^^ov  Kpurei,  '  Be 
master  of  thy  anger.'  He  considered  anger  as  the 
great  disturber  of  human  life,  the  chief  enemy 
both  of  public  hap[)iness  and  private  tranquillity, 
and  thougiit  tluit  he  could  not  lay  on  posterity  a 
stronger  obligation  to  reverence  his  memory,  than 
by  leaving  them  a  salutary  caution  against  this  out- 
rageous passion. 

To  what  latitude  Periander  misrht  extend  the 
word,  tlie  brevity  of  his  precept  will  scarce  allow  us 
to  conjecture.  From  anger,  in  its  full  import,  j)ro- 
tracted  into  malevolence,  and  exerted  in  revenge, 
arise,  indeed,  many  of  the  evils  to  which  the  life  of 
man  is  exposed.  By  anger  operating  upon  power 
are  prc^luced  the  subversion  of  cities,  the  desola- 
tion of  countries,  the  massacre  of  nations,  and  all 
those  dreadful  and  astonishing  calamities  whicii  till 
the  histories  of  the  world,  and  which  could  not  be 

124  RAMBLER.  NO.    11. 

read  at  any  distant  point  of  time,  when  the  passions 
stand  neutral,  and  every  motive  and  principle  is  left 
to  its  natural  force,  without  some  doubt  of  the  truth 
of  the  relation,  did  we  not  see  the  same  causes  still 
tending  to  the  same  effects,  and  only  acting  with 
less  vigour  for  want  of  the  same  concurrent  oppor- 

But  this  gigantic  and  enormous  species  of  anger 
falls  not  properly  under  the  animadversion  of  a 
writer,  whose  chief  end  is  the  regulation  of  common 
life,  and  whose  precepts  are  to  recommend  them- 
selves by  their  general  use.  Nor  is  this  essay  in- 
tended to  expose  the  tragical  or  fatal  effects  even 
of  private  malignity.  The  anger  which  I  propose 
now  for  my  subject  is  such  as  makes  those  who  in- 
dulge it  more  troublesome  than  formidable,  and 
ranks  them  rather  with  hornets  and  wasps,  than 
with  basilisks  and  lions.  I  have,  therefore,  prefixed 
a  motto  which  characterizes  this  passion,  not  so 
much  by  the  mischief  that  it  causes,  as  by  the  noise 
that  it  utters. 

There  is  in  the  world  a  certain  class  of  mortals, 
known,  and  contentedly  known,  by  the  appellation 
of  passionate  men,  who  imagine  themselves  entitled 
by  that  distinction  to  be  provoked  on  every  slight 
occasion,  and  to  vent  their  rage  in  vehement  and 
fierce  vociferations,  in  furious  menaces  and  licentious 
reproaches.  Their  rage,  indeed,  for  the  most  part, 
fumes  away  in  outcries  of  injury  and  protestations 
of  vengeance,  and  seldom  proceeds  to  actual  violence, 
unless  a  drawer  or  link-boy  falls  in  their  way ;  but 
they  interrupt  the  quiet  of  those  that  happen  to 
be  within  the  reach  of  their  clamours,  obstruct  the 
course  of  conversation,  and  disturb  the  enjoyment 
of  society. 

Men  of  this  kind  are  sometimes  not  without  un- 

NO.    11.  KAMBLER.  125 

derstanding  or  virtue,  and  are,  therefore,  not  always 
treated  with  the  severity  which  their  neglect  of  the 
ease  of  all  about  them  might  justly  provoke  ;  they 
have  obtained  a  kind  of  prescription  for  their  folly, 
and  are  considered  by  their  companions  as  under  a 
I)redominant  influence  that  leaves  them  not  masters 
of  their  conduct  or  language,  as  acting  without  con- 
sciousness, and  rushing  into  mischief  with  a  mist 
before  their  eyes  ;  they  are,  therefore,  pitied  rather 
than  censured,  and  their  sallies  are  passed  over  as 
the  involuntary  blows  of  a  man  agitated  by  the 
s{)asms  of  a  convulsion. 

It  is  surelv  not  to  be  observed  without  indiojnation, 
that  men  mav  be  found  of  minds  mean  enou^^h  to 
be  satisfied  with  this  treatment ;  wretches  who  are 
proud  to  obtain  the  privilege  of  madmen,  and  can, 
without  shame,  and  without  regret,  consider  them- 
selves, as  receiving  hourly  pardons  from  their  com- 
panions, and  giving  them  continual  opportunities 
of  exercising  their  patience,  and  boasting  their 

Pride  is,  undoubtedly,  the  original  of  anger;  but 
})ride,  like  every  other  passion,  if  it  once  breaks 
loose  from  reason,  counteracts  its  own  purposes.  A 
passionate  man,  upon  the  review  of  his  day,  will 
have  very  few  gratifications  to  offer  to  his  pride, 
when  he  has  considered  how  his  outrages  were 
caused,  why  they  were  borne,  and  in  what  they  are 
likely  to  end  at  last. 

Tliose  sudden  bursts  of  rage  generally  break  out 
upon  small  occasions ;  for  life,  unhappy  as  it  is,  can- 
not supply  great  evils  as  frequently  as  the  nlan  of 
fire  thinks  it  fit  to  be  enraged ;  therefore,  the  first 
refiection  upon  his  violence  must  show  him  that  he 
is  mean  enough  to  be  driven  from  iiis  [jost  by  every 
petty  incident,  tiiat  he  is  the  mere  slave  of  casualty, 

126  RAMBLER.  NO.    11. 

and  that  his  reason  and  virtue  are  in  the  power  of 
the  wind. 

One  motive  there  is  of  these  loud  extravagances, 
which  a  man  is  careful  to  conceal  from  others,  and 
does  not  always  discover  to  himself.  He  that  finds 
his  knowledge  narrow,  and  his  arguments  weak,  and 
by  consequence  his  suffrage  not  much  regarded,  is 
sometimes  in  hope  of  gaining  that  attention,  by  his 
clamours,  which  he  cannot  otherwise  obtain,  and  is 
pleased  with  remembering  that  at  least  he  made 
himself  heard,  that  he  had  the  power  to  interrupt 
those  whom  he  could  not  confute,  and  suspend  the 
decision  which  he  could  not  guide. 

Of  this  kind  is  the  fury  to  which  many  men  give 
way  among  their  servants  and  domestics  ;  they  feel 
their  own  ignorance,  they  see  their  own  insigni- 
ficance, and,  therefore,  they  endeavour,  by  their 
fury,  to  fright  away  contempt  from  before  them, 
when  they  know  it  must  follow  them  behind ;  and 
think  themselves  eminently  masters,  when  they  see 
one  folly  tamely  complied  with,  only  lest  refusal  or 
delay  should  provoke  them  to  a  greater. 

These  temptations  cannot  but  be  owned  to  have 
some  force.  It  is  so  little  pleasing  to  any  man  to 
see  himself  wholly  overlooked  in  the  mass  of  things, 
that  he  may  be  allowed  to  try  a  few  expedients  for 
procuring  some  kind  of  supplemental  dignity,  and 
use  some  endeavour  to  add  weight,  by  the  violence 
of  his  temper,  to  the  lightness  of  his  other  powers. 
But  this  has  now  been  long  practised,  and  found, 
upon  the  most  exact  estimate,  not  to  produce  advan- 
tages equal  to  its  inconveniences  ;  for  it  appears  not 
that  a  man  can  by  uproar,  tumult,  and  bluster,  alter 
any  one's  opinion  of  his  understanding,  or  gain  in- 
fluence except  over  those  whom  fortune  or  nature 
have  made  his  dependents.     He  may,  by  a  steady 

NO.    11.  RAMBLER.  127 

perseverance  in  his  ferocity,  fright  Iiis  children  and 
harass  his  servants,  but  the  rest  of  the  world  will 
look  on  and  lauah  ;  and  he  will  have  the  comfort  at 
last  of  thinking,  that  he  lives  only  to  raise  contempt 
and  hatred,  emotions  to  which  wisdom  and  virtue 
would  be  always  unwilling  to  give  occasion.  lie 
has  contrived  only  to  make  those  fear  him,  whom 
every  reasonable  being  is  endeavouring  to  endear 
by  kindness,  and  must  content  himself  with  the 
pleasure  of  a  triumph  obtained  by  trampling  on 
them  who  could  not  resist.  He  must  perceive  that 
the  apprehension  which  his  presence  causes  is  not 
the  awe  of  his  virtue,  but  the  dread  of  his  bru- 
tality, and  that  he  has  given  up  the  felicity  of 
being  loved,  without  gaining  the  honour  of  being 

But  this  is  not  the  only  ill  consequence  of  the  fre- 
quent indulgence  of  this  blustering  passion,  which  a 
man,  by  often  calling  to  his  assistance,  will  teach,  in 
a  short  time,  to  intrude  before  the  summons,  to  rush 
upon  him  with  resistless  violence,  and  without  any 
previous  notice  of  its  approach.  He  will  find  him- 
self lialjle  to  be  inflamed  at  the  first  touch  of  provo- 
cation, and  unable  to  retain  his  resentment  till  he 
has  a  full  conviction  of  the  offence,  to  proportion  his 
anger  to  the  cause,  or  to  regulate  it  by  prudence  or 
by  duty.  When  a  man  has  once  suffered  his  mind 
to  be  thus  vitiated,  he  becomes  one  of  the  most 
hateful  and  unhappy  beings.  He  can  give  no  secur- 
itv  to  himself  that  he  shall  not,  at  the  next  inter- 
view,  alienate  by  some  sudden  transport  his  dearest 
friend;  or  break  out,  upon  some  slight  contradiction, 
into  such  terms  of  rudeness  as  can  never  be  j)erfectly 
forgotten.  Whoever  converses  with  him,  lives  with 
the  sus[)icion  and  solicitude  of  a  man  that  plays  with 
a  tame  tiger,  always  under  a  necessity  of  watching 

128  RAMBLER.  NO.    11. 

the  moment  in  which  the  capricious  savage  shall 
begin  to  growl. 

It  is  told  by  Prior,  in  a  panegyric  on  the  Earl  of 
Dorset,  that  his  servants  used  to  put  themselves  in 
his  way  when  he  was  angry,  because  he  was  sure 
to  recompense  them  for  any  indignities  which  he 
made  them  suffer.  This  is  the  round  of  a  pas- 
sionate man's  life ;  he  contracts  debts  when  he  is 
furious,  which  his  virtue,  if  he  has  virtue,  obliges 
him  to  discharge  at  the  return  of  reason.  He  spends 
his  time  in  outrage  and  acknowledgment,  injury  and 
reparation.  Or,  if  there  be  any  w^ho  hardens  him- 
self in  oppression,  and  justifies  the  wrong,  because 
he  has  done  it,  his  insensibility  can  make  small  part 
of  his  praise,  or  his  happiness ;  he  only  adds  delib- 
erate to  hasty  folly,  aggravates  petulance  by  con- 
tumacy, and  destroys  the  only  plea  that  he  can  offer 
for  the  tenderness  and  patience  of  mankind. 

Yet,  even  this  degree  of  depravity  w^e  may  be  con- 
tent to  pity,  because  it  seldom  wants  a  punishment 
equal  to  its  guilt.  Nothing  is  more  despicable  or 
more  miserable  than  the  old  age  of  a  passionate  man. 
"When  the  vigour  of  youth  fails  him,  and  his  amuse- 
ments pall  with  frequent  repetition,  his  occasional 
rage  sinks  by  decay  of  strength  into  peevishness ;  that 
peevishness,  for  want  of  novelty  and  variety,  becomes 
habitual ;  the  w^orld  falls  off  from  around  him  ;  and  he 
is  left,  as  Homer  expresses  it,  (i)tvv^uv  (piTiov  ktjp,  to 
devour  his  own  heart  in  solitude  and  contempt. 

NO.    12.  RAMBLER.  129 

No.  12.     SATURDAY,  APRIL  28,  1750. 

— Miserum  pared  stipe  focilat,  ut  pudibundos 

Exercere  sales  inter  convivia  possit. — 

—  Tu  mitis,  et  acri 

Asperitate  carens, posiioque per  omnia  Jasiu, 

Inter  ut  cequales  unus  numeraris  amicos, 

Obsequiunique  doces,  et  amorem  quceris  amando. 


Unlike  the  ribald,  -whose  licentious  jest 

Pollutes  his  banquet,  and  insults  his  guest; 

From  wealth  and  grandeur  easy  to  descend, 

Thou  joy'st  to  lose  the  master  in  the  friend: 

We  round  thy  board  the  cheerful  menials  see, 

Gay  with  the  smile  of  bland  equality; 

No  social  care  the  gracious  lord  disdains, 

Love  prompts  to  love,  and  reverence  reverence  gains. 

"  TO    THE    RAMBLER. 
"  SIR, 

"  As  you  seem  to  have  devoted  your  labours  to 
virtue,  I  cannot  forbear  to  inform  you  of  one  species 
of  cruelty  with  which  the  life  of  a  man  of  letters, 
perhaps,  does  not  often  make  him  acquainted ;  and 
whicli^  as  it  seems  to  produce  no  other  advantage  to 
those  that  practise  it  than  a  short  gratification  of 
thoughtless  vanity,  may  become  less  common  when 
it  has  been  once  exposed  in  its  various  forms,  and 
its  full  magnitude. 

"  I  am  the  daugliter  of  a  country  gentleman,  whose 
family  is  numerous,  and  whose  estate,  not  at  first 
sutficient  to  supply  us  with  affluence,  has  been  lately 
so  much  impaired  by  an  unsuccessful  lawsuit-,  that 
all   the   younger   children   are   obliged   to  try  such 

VOL.   XVI.  9 

130  RAMBLER.    .  NO.    12. 

means  as  their  education  affords  them,  for  procuring 
the  necessaries  of  life.  Distress  and  curiosity  con- 
curred to  bring  me  to  London,  where  I  was  received 
by  a  relation  with  the  coldness  which  misfortune 
generally  finds.  A  week,  a  long  week,  I  lived  with 
my  cousin,  before  the  most  vigilant  inquiry  could 
procure  us  the  least  hopes  of  a  place,  in  which  time 
I  was  much  better  qualified  to  bear  all  the  vexations 
of  servitude.  The  first  two  days  she  was  content 
to  pity  me,  and  only  wished  I  had  not  been  quite  so 
well  bred;  but  people  must  comply  with  their  cir- 
cumstances. This  lenity,  however,  was  soon  at  an 
end ;  and,  for  the  remaining  part  of  the  week,  I 
heard  every  hour  of  the  pride  of  my  family,  the 
obstinacy  of  my  father,  and  of  people  better  born 
than  myself  that  were  common  servants. 

"  At  last,  on  Saturday  noon,  she  told  me,  with 
very  visible  satisfaction,  that  Mrs.  Bombasine,  the 
great  silk -mercer's  lady,  wanted  a  maid,  and  a  fine 
place  it  would  be,  for  there  would  be  nothing  to  do 
but  to  clean  my  mistress's  room,  get  up  her  linen, 
dress  the  young  ladies,  wait  at  tea  in  the  morning, 
take  care  of  a  little  miss  just  come  from  nurse,  and 
then  sit  down  to  my  needle.  But  madam  was  a 
woman  of  great  spirit,  and  would  not  be  contradicted, 
and  therefore  I  should  take  care,  for  good  places 
were  not  easily  to  be  got. 

"  With  these  cautions  I  waited  on  Madam  Bom- 
basine, of  whom  the  first  sight  gave  me  no  ravish- 
ing ideas.  She  was  two  yards  round  the  waist,  her 
voice  was  at  once  loud  and  squeaking,  and  her  face 
brought  to  my  mind  the  picture  of  the  full  moon. 
Are  you  the  young  woman,  says  she,  that  are  come 
to  offer  yourself?  It  is  strange  when  people  of  sub- 
stance want  a  servant,  how  soon  it  is  the  towntalk. 
But  they  know  they  shall  have  a  bellyful!  that  live 

NO.    12.  RAMBLER.  131 

with  me.  Not  like  people  at  the  other  end  of  the 
town,  we  dine  at  one  o'clock.  But  I  never  take 
anybody  without  a  character;  what  friends  do  you 
come  of?  I  then  told  her  that  my  father  was  a  gen- 
tleman, and  that  we  had  been  unfortunate. — A  great 
misfortune,  indeed,  to  come  to  me,  and  have  three 
meals  a-day  ! — So  your  father  was  a  gentleman,  and 
you  are  a  gentlewoman  I  suppose — such  gentle- 
women ! — Madam,  I  did  not  mean  to  claim  any 
exemptions,  I  only  answered  your  inquiry. — Such 
gentlewomen!  people  should  set  their  children  to 
good  trades,  and  keep  them  off  the  parish.  Pray, 
go  to  the  other  end  of  the  town,  there  are  gentle- 
women, if  they  would  pay  their  debts  :  I  am  sure  we 
Iiave  lost  enough  by  gentlewomen.  Upon  this,  her 
broad  face  grew  broader  with  triumph,  and  I  was 
afraid  she  would  have  taken  me  for  the  pleasure  of 
continuing  her  insult ;  but,  happily,  the  next  word 
was  Pray,  Mrs.  Gentlewoman,  troop  down  stairs. 
You  may  believe  I  obeyed  her. 

"  I  returned  and  met  with  a  better  reception  from 
my  cousin  than  I  expected  ;  for  while  I  was  out,  she 
had  heard  that  Mrs.  Standish,  whose  husband  had 
lately  been  raised  from  a  clerk  in  an  otUce,  to  be  a 
commissioner  of  the  excise,  had  taken  a  tine  house, 
and  wanted  a  maid. 

"To  Mrs.  Standish  I  went,  and,  after  having 
waited  six  hours,  was  at  last  admitted  to  the  top  of 
the  stairs,  when  she  came  out  of  her  room  with  two 
of  her  company.  There  was  a  smell  of  punch.  So, 
young  woman,  you  want  a  jjlace,  whence  do  you 
come  ?  From  the  country,  madam. — Yes,  they  all 
come  out  of  the  country.  And  what  brought  you 
to  town  ?  a  bastard  ?  where  do  you  lodge  ?  at  the 
Seven-Dials?  What,  you  never  heard  of  the  found- 
ling-house !    Upon  this,  they  all  laughed  so  obstrep- 

132  RAMBLER.  NO.    12. 

erously,  that  I  took  the  opportunity  of  sneaking  off 
in  the  tumult. 

"  I  then  heard  of  a  place  at  an  elderly  lady's.  She 
was  at  cards ;  but,  in  two  hours,  I  was  told,  she 
would  speak  to  me.  She  asked  me  if  I  could  keep 
an  account,  and  ordered  me  to  write.  I  wrote  two 
lines  out  of  some  book  that  lay  by  her.  She  won- 
dered what  people  meant,  to  breed  up  poor  girls  to 
write  at  that  rate.  I  suppose,  Mrs.  Flirt,  if  I  was 
to  see  your  work,  it  would  be  fine  stuff! — You  may 
walk.  I  will  not  have  love-letters  written  from  my 
house  to  every  young  fellow  in  the  street. 

"  Two  days  after,  I  went  on  the  same  pursuit  to 
Lady  Lofty,  dressed,  as  I  was  directed,  in  what  little 
ornaments  I  had,  because  she  had  lately  got  a  place 
at  court.  Upon  the  first  sight  of  me,  she  turns  to 
the  woman  that  showed  me  in,  is  this  the  lady  that 
wants  a  place  ?  Pray,  what  place  would  you  have, 
Miss  ?  a  maid  of  honour's  place  ?  Servants  nowa- 
days ! — Madam,  I  heard  you  wanted — Wanted  what 
— Somebody  finer  than  myself!  A  pretty  servant, 
indeed — I  should  be  afraid  to  speak  to  her — I  sup- 
pose, Mrs.  Minx,  these  fine  hands  cannot  bear  wet- 
ting— A  servant,  indeed  !    Pray,  move  off — I   am 

resolved  to  be  the  head  person  in  this  house. 

You  are  ready  dress'd,  the  taverns  will  be  open. 

"  I  went  to  inquire  for  the  next  place  in  a  clean 
linen  gown,  and  heard  the  servant  tell  his  lady,  there 
was  a  young  woman,  but  he  saw  she  would  not  do. 
I  was  brought  up,  however.  Are  you  the  trollop 
that  has  the  impudence  to  come  for  my  place  ? 
What,  you  have  hired  that  nasty  gown,  and  are 
come  to  steal  a  better ! — Madam,  I  have  another,  but 
being  obliged  to  walk — Then  these  are  your  man- 
ners, with  your  blushes,  and  your  courtesies,  to  come 
to  me  in  your  worst  gown. — Madam,  give  me  leave 

NO.    12.  RAMBLER.  133 

to  wait  upon  you  in  my  other. — Wait  on  me,  you 
saucy  slut !  Then  you  are  sure  of  coming — I  could 
not  let  such  a  drab  come  near  me — Here,  you  girl, 
that  came  up  with  her,  have  you  touched  her?  If 
you  liave,  wash  your  hands  before  you  dress  me — 
Such  trollops  !  Get  you  down.  What,  whimpering? 
Pray  walk. 

"  I  went  away  with  tears ;  for  my  cousin  had  lost 
all  patience.  However,  she  told  me  that,  having  a 
respect  for  my  relations,  she  was  willing  to  keep 
me  out  of  the  street,  and  would  let  me  have  another 

"  The  first  day  of  this  week  I  saw  two  places.  At 
one,  I  was  asked  where  I  had  lived  ?  And  upon  my 
answer,  was  told  by  the  lady,  that  people  should 
qualify  themselves  in  ordinary  places,  for  she  should 
never  have  done  if  she  was  to  follow  girls  about. 
At  the  other  house,  I  was  a  smirking  hussy,  and  that 
sweet  face  I  might  make  money  of — For  her  part,  it 
was  a  rule  with  her  never  to  take  any  creature  that 
thought  herself  handsome. 

"  The  three  next  days  were  spent  in  Lady  Bluff's 
entry,  where  I  waited  six  hours  every  day  for  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  the  servants  peep  at  me,  and  go 

awav  lauo^hintT Madam  will  stretch  her  small 

shanks    in    the    entry ;    she   will    know    the    house 

again. At  sunset  the  first  two  days,  I  was  told 

that  my  lady  would  see  me  to-morrow,  and  on  the 
third,  that  her  woman  stayed. 

"  My  week  was  now  near  its  end,  and  I  had  no 
hopes  of  a  place.  My  relation,  who  always  laid 
upon  me  the  blame  of  every  miscarriage,  told  me 
that  I  must  learn  to  humble  myself,  and  that  all 
great  ladies  had  particular  ways  ;  and  if  I  went  on 
in  that  manner,  she  could  not  tell  who  would  keep 
me ;  she  had  known  many  who  had  refused  places, 
sell  their  clothes,  and  beg  iu  the  streets. 

134  RAMBLER.  NO.    12. 

"  It  was  to  no  purpose  that  the  refusal  was  de- 
clared by  me  to  be  never  on  my  side ;  I  was  reason- 
ing agahist  interest,  and  against  stupidity;  and 
therefore  I  comforted  myself  with  the  hope  of  suc- 
ceeding better  in  my  next  attempt,  and  went  to  Mrs. 
Courtly,  a  very  fine  lady,  who  had  routs  at  her  house, 
and  saw  the  best  company  in  town. 

"  I  had  not  waited  two  hours  before  I  was  called 
up,  and  found  Mr.  Courtly  and  his  lady  at  piquet, 
in  the  height  of  good-humour.  This  I  looked  on  as 
a  favourable  sign,  and  stood  at  the  lower  end  of  the 
room  in  expectation  of  the  common  questions.  At 
last,  Mr.  Courtly  called  out,  after  a  whisper,  Stand 
facing  the  light,  that  one  may  see  you.  I  changed 
my  place,  and  blushed.  They  frequently  turned 
their  eyes  upon  me,  and  seemed  to  discover  many 
subjects  of  merriment ;  for  at  every  look  they  whis- 
pered, and  laughed  with  the  most  violent  agitations 
of  delight.  At  last,  Mr.  Courtly  cried  out.  Is  that 
colour  your  own,  child?  Yes,  says  the  lady,  if  she 
has  not  robbed  the  kitchen  hearth.  This  was  so 
happy  a  conceit,  that  it  renewed  the  storm  of  laugh- 
ter, and  they  threw  down  their  cards  in  hopes  of 
better  sport.  The  lady  then  called  me  to  her,  and 
began  with  an  affected  gravity  to  inquire  what  I 
could  do  ?  But  first  turn  about,  and  let  us  see  your 
fine  shape  :  Well,  what  are  you  fit  for,  Mrs.  Mum  ? 
You  would  find  your  tongue,  I  suppose,  in  the 
kitchen.  No,  no,  says  Mr.  Courtly,  the  girl's  a  good 
girl  yet,  but  I  am  afraid  a  brisk  young  fellow,  with 
fine  tags  on  his  shoulder — Come,  child,  hold  up  your 

head;  what?   you  have  stole  nothing Not  yet, 

says  the  lady,  but  she  hopes  to  steal  your  heart 
quickly — Here  was  a  laugh  of  happiness  and  tri- 
umph, prolonged  by  the  confusion  which  I  could  no 
longer  repress.     At  last,  the  lady  recollected  her- 

NO.    12.  RAMBLER.  135 

self:  Stole?  no — but  if  I  luid  her,  I  should  watch 
her ;  for  thiit  downcast  eye — Why  cannot  you  look 
people  in  the  face  ? — Steal !  says  her  husband,  she 
would  steal  nothing  but,  perhaps,  a  few  ribbons  be- 
fore they  were  left  off  by  her  lady. — Sir,  answered 
I,  why  should  you,  by  supposing  me  a  thief,  insult 
one  from  whom  you  have  received  no  injury? — In- 
sult, says  the  lady ;  are  you  come  here  to  be  a  servant, 
you  saucy  baggage,  and  talk  of  insulting  ?  What  will 
this  world  come  to,  if  a  gentleman  may  not  jest  with 
a  servant  ?  Well,  such  servants  !  pray  be  gone,  and 
see  when  you  will  have  the  honour  to  be  so  insulted 
again.  Servants  insulted — a  fine  time.  Insulted  1 
get  down  stairs,  you  slut,  or  the  footman  shall  insult 

"  The  last  day  of  the  last  week  was  now  coming, 
and  my  kind  cousin  talked  of  sending  me  down  in 
the  wagon  to  preserve  me  from  bad  courses.  But 
in  the  morning  she  came  and  told  me  that  she  had 
one  trial  more  for  me ;  Euphemia  wanted  a  maid, 
and  perliaps  I  might  do  for  her;  for,  like  me,  she 
must  fall  her  crest,  being  forced  to  lay  down  her 
chariot  upon  the  loss  of  half  her  fortune  by  bad 
securities,  and,  with  her  way  of  giving  her  money  to 
everybody  that  pretended  to  want  it,  she  could  have 
little  beforehand;  therefore  I  might  serve  her  ;  for, 
with  all  her  fine  sense,  she  must  not  pretend  to 
be  nice. 

"  I  went  immediately,  and  met  at  the  door  a  young 
gentlewoman,  who  told  me  she  had  herself  been 
hired  that  morning,  but  that  she  was  ordered  to  bring 
any  that  offered  up  stairs.  I  was  accordingly  intro- 
duced to  Euphemia,  who,  when  I  came  in,  laid  down 
her  book,  and  told  me,  that  she  sent  for  me  not  to 
gratify  an  idle  curiosity,  but  lest  my  disappointment 
might  be  made  still  more  grating  by  incivility  ;  that 

136  RAMBLER.  NO.    13. 

she  was  in  pain  to  deny  any  thing,  much  more  what 
was  no  favour ;  that  she  saw  nothing  in  my  appear- 
ance which  did  not  make  her  wish  for  my  company ; 
but  that  another,  whose  claims  might  perhaps  be 
equal,  had  come  before  me.  The  thought  of  being 
so  near  to  such  a  place,  and  missing  it,  brought  tears 
into  my  eyes,  and  my  sobs  hindered  me  from  return- 
ing my  acknowledgments.  She  rose  up  confused, 
and  supposing  by  my  concern  that  I  was  distressed, 
placed  me  by  her,  and  made  me  tell  her  my  story ; 
which,  when  she  had  heard,  she  put  two  guineas  in 
my  hand,  ordering  me  to  lodge  near  her,  and  make 
use  of  her  table  till  she  could  provide  for  me.  I  am 
now  under  her  protection,  and  know  not  how  to 
show  my  gratitude  better  than  by  giving  this  account 
to  The  Rambler. 

«  ZOSIMA." 

No.  13.    TUESDAY,  MAY  1,  1750. 

Commissumque  teges,  et  vino  tortus  et  ird. 

HOK.  EPIST.  i.  18.  39. 

And  let  not  wine  or  anger  wrest 

Th.'  intrusted  secret  from  your  breast.  fkancis. 

It  is  related  by  Quintus  Curtius,  that  the  Per- 
sians always  conceived  an  invincible  contempt  of  a 
man  who  had  violated  the  laws  of  secrecy  ;  for  they 
thought,  that,  however  he  might  be  deficient  in  the 
qualities  requisite  to  actual  excellence,  the  negative 
virtues  at  least  were  in  his  power,  and  though  he 

NO.   13.  RAMBLER.  137 

perhaps,  could  not  speak  well  if  he  was  to  try,  it  was 
still  easy  for  him  not  to  speak. 

In  forming  this  opinion  of  the  easiness  of  secrecy, 
they  seem  to  have  considered  it  as  opposed,  not  to 
treachery,  but  loquacity,  and  to  have  conceived  the 
man,  whom  they  thus  censured,  not  frighted  by  men- 
aces to  reveal,  or  bribed  by  promises  to  betray,  but 
incited  by  the  mere  pleasure  of  talking,  or  some 
other  motive  equally  trifling,  to  lay  open  his  heart 
without  reflection,  and  to  let  whatever  he  knew  slip 
from  him  only  for  want  of  power  to  retain  it.  Whe- 
ther, by  their  settled  and  avowed  scorn  of  thought- 
less talker^  the  Persians  were  able  to  diffuse,  to  any 
great  extent,  the  virtue  of  taciturnity,  we  are  hin- 
dered by  the  distance  of  those  times  from  being  able 
to  discover,  there  being  very  few  memoirs  remaining 
of  the  court  of  Persepolis,  nor  any  distinct  accounts 
handed  down  to  us  of  their  ofiice  clerks,  their  ladies 
of  the  bedchamber,  their  attorneys,  their  chamber- 
maids, or  their  footmen. 

In  these  latter  ages,  though  the  old  animosity 
against  a  prattler  is  still  retained,  it  appears  wholly 
to  have  lost  its  effects  upon  the  conduct  of  man- 
kind ;  for  secrets  are  so  seldom  kept,  that  it  may 
with  some  reason  be  doubted,  whether  the  ancients 
were  not  mistaken  in  their  first  postulate,  whether 
the  quality  of  retention  be  so  generally  bestowed, 
and  wiicther  a  secret  has  not  some  subtle  volatility, 
by  which  it  escapes  imperceptibly  at  the  smallest 
vent,  or  some  power  of  fermentation,  by  which  it 
expands  itself  so  as  to  burst  the  heart  that  will  not 
give  it  way. 

Those  that  study  either  the  body  or  the  mind  of 
man,  very  often  And  the  most  specious  and  [)leasing 
theory  falling  under  the  weight  of  contrary  experi- 
ence ;  and,  instead  of  gratifying  their  vanity  by  in- 

138  RAMBLER.  NO.    13. 

ferring  effects  from  causes,  they  are  always  reduced 
at  last  to  conjecture  causes  from  effects.  That  it  is 
easy  to  be  secret,  the  speculatist  can  demonstrate  in 
his  retreat,  and  therefore  thinks  himself  justified  in 
placing  confidence ;  the  man  of  the  world  knows, 
that,  whether  difficult  or  not,  it  is  uncommon,  and 
therefore  finds  himself  rather  inclined  to  search 
after  the  reason  of  this  universal  failure  in  one  of 
the  most  important  duties  of  society. 

The  vanity  of  being  known  to  be  trusted  with  a 
secret  is  generally  one  of  the  chief  motives  to  dis- 
close it ;  for,  however  absurd  it  may  be  thought  to 
boast  an  honour  by  an  act  which  shows  that  it  was 
conferred  without  merit,  yet  most  men  seem  rather 
inclined  to  confess  the  want  of  virtue  than  of  impor- 
tance, and  more  willingly  show  their  influence,  though 
at  the  expense  of  their  probity,  than  glide  through 
life  with  no  other  pleasure  than  the  private  con- 
sciousness of  fidelity ;  which,  while  it  is  preserved, 
must  be  without  praise,  except  from  the  single  per- 
son who  tries  and  knows  it. 

There  are  many  ways  of  telling  a  secret,  by  which 
a  man  exempts  himself  from  the  reproaches  of  his 
conscience,  and  gratifies  his  pride,  without  suffering 
himself  to  believe  that  he  impairs  his  virtue.  He 
tells  the  private  affairs  of  his  patron,  or  his  friend, 
only  to  those  from  whom  he  would  not  conceal  his 
own ;  he  tells  them  to  those,  who  have  no  tempta- 
tion to  betray  the  trust,  or  with  a  denunciation  of  a 
certain  forfeiture  of  his  friendship,  if  he  discovers 
that  they  become  public. 

Secrets  are  very  frequently  told  in  the  first  ardour 
of  kindness,  or  of  love,  for  the  sake  of  proving,  by 
so  important  a  sacrifice,  sincerity  or  tenderness  ;  but 
with  this  motive,  though  it  be  strong  in  itself,  van- 
ity concurs,  since  every  man  desires  to  be   most 

NO.    13.  RAMBLER.  130 

esteemed  by  those  whom  he  loves,  or  with  whom 
be  converses,  with  whom  he  passes  his  hours  ot 
pleasure,  and  to  whom  he  retires  from  busmess  and 

from  care.  .         ^  . , 

When  the  discovery  of  secrets  is  under  considera- 
tion, there  is  always  a  distinction  carefully  to  be 
made  between  our  own  and  those  ot  another ;  those 
of  whicli  we  are  fully  masters  as  they  affect  only 
our  own  interest,  and  those  which  are  reposited 
with  us  in  trust,  and  involve  the  happiness  or  con- 
venience of  such  as  we  have  no  right  to  expose  to 
hazard  To  tell  our  own  secrets  is  generally  tolly, 
but  that  folly  is  without  guilt;  to  communicate 
those  with  which  we  are  intrusted  is  always  treach- 
ery; and  treachery,  for  the  most  part,  combmed 

with  folly.  .      .      .     „,^  1 

There  have,  indeed,  been  some  enthusiastic  and 

irrational  zealots  for  friendship,  who  have  main- 
tained and  perhaps  believed,  that  one  fnend  has  a 
ricrht  to  all  that  is  in  possession  of  another  ;  and  that 
th^erefore  it  is  a  violation  of  kindness  to  exempt  any 
secret  from  this  boundless  confidence.  Accordingly, 
a  late  female  minister  of  state  has  been  shameless 
enou-h  to  inform  the  world,  that  she  used,  when  she 
wanted  to  extract  any  thing  from  her  sovereign,  to 
remind  her  of  Montaigne's  reasoning,  who  has  de- 
termined, that  to  tell  a  secret  to  a  friend  is  no  breach 
of  fidelity,  because  the  number  of  persons  trusted  is 
not  multiplied,  a  man  and  his  friend  being  virtually 

the  same.  , 

That  such  a  fallacy  could  be  imposed  upon  any 
human  understanding,  or  that  an  author  could  have 
advanccHl  a  position  so  remote  from  truth  and  rea- 
son, any  other  ways  than  as  a  declaimer,  to  show  to 
what  extent  he  could  stretch  his  imagination,  and 
with   what   strength   he  could   press   his   principle, 

140  RAMBLER.  NO.    13. 

would  scarcely  have  been  credible,  had  not  this  lady 
kindly  shown  us  how  far  weakness  may  be  deluded, 
or  indolence  amused.  But  since  it  appears,  that 
even  this  sophistry  has  been  able,  with  the  help  of 
a  strong  desire  to  repose  in  quiet  upon  the  under- 
standing of  another,  to  mislead  honest  intentions,  and 
an  understanding  not  contemptible,  it  may  not  be 
superfluous  to  remark,  that  those  things  which  are 
common  among  friends  are  only  such  as  either  pos- 
sesses in  his  own  right,  and  can  alienate  or  destroy 
without  injury  to  any  other  person.  Without  this 
limitation,  confidence  must  run  on  without  end,  the 
second  person  may  tell  the  secret  to  the  third,  upon 
the  same  principle  as  he  received  it  from  the  first, 
and  the  third  may  hand  it  forward  to  a  fourth, 
till  at  last  it  is  told  in  the  round  of  friendship  to 
them  from  whom  it  was  the  first  intention  to  con- 
ceal it. 

The  confidence  which  Caius  has  of  the  faithful- 
ness of  Titius  is  nothing  more  than  an  opinion  which 
himself  cannot  know  to  be  true,  and  which  Claudius, 
who  first  tells  his  secret  to  Caius,  may  know  to  be 
false  ;  and  therefore  the  trust  is  transferred  by  Caius, 
if  he  reveal  what  has  been  told  him,  to  one  from 
whom  the  person  originally  concerned  would  have 
withheld  it ;  and  whatever  may  be  the  event,  Caius 
has  hazarded  the  happiness  of  his  friend,  without 
necessity  and  without  permission,  and  has  put  that 
trust  in  the  hand  of  fortune  which  was  given  only 
to  virtue. 

All  the  arguments  upon  which  a  man  who  is 
telling  the  private  affairs  of  another  may  ground  his 
confidence  of  security,  he  must,  upon  reflection,  know 
to  be  uncertain,  because  he  finds  them  without  effect 
upon  himself  When  he  is  imagining  that  Titius 
will  be  cautious  from  a  regard  to  his  interest,  his 

NO.    13.  RAMBLER.  141 

reputation,  or  his  duty,  he  ought  to  reflect  that  he 
is  himself  at  that  instant  acting  in  opposition  to  all 
these  reasons,  and  revealing  what  interest,  reputa- 
tion, and  duty,  direct  him  to  conceal. 

Every  one  feels  that  in  his  own  case  he  should 
consider  the  man  incapable  of  trust,  who  believed 
himself  at  liberty  to  tell  whatever  he  knew  to  the 
first  whom  he  should  conclude  deserving  of  his  con- 
fidence ;  therefore  Caius,  in  admitting  Titius  to  the 
affairs  imparted  only  to  himself,  must  know  that  he 
violates  his  faith,  since  he  acts  contrary  to  the  inten- 
tion of  Claudius,  to  whom  that  faith  was  given.  For 
promises  of  friendship  are,  like  all  others,  useless 
and  vain,  unless  they  are  made  in  some  known 
sense,  adjusted  and  acknowledged  by  both  parties. 

I  am  not  ignorant  that  many  questions  may  be 
started  relating  to  the  duty  of  secrecy,  where  the 
affairs  are  of  public  concern  ;  where  subsequent  rea- 
sons may  arise  to  alter  the  appearance  and  nature 
of  the  trust ;  that  the  manner  in  which  the  secret 
was  told  may  change  the  degree  of  obligation ;  and 
that  the  principles  upon  which  a  man  is  chosen  for 
a  confidant  may  not  always  equally  constrain  him. 
But  these  scruples,  if  not  too  intricate,  are  of  too 
extensive  consideration  for  my  present  purpose,  nor 
are  they  such  as  generally  occur  in  common  life ; 
and  though  casuistical  knowledge  be  useful  in  proper 
hands,  yet  it  ought  by  no  means  to  be  carelessly 
exposed,  since  most  will  use  it  rather  to  lull  than 
awaken  their  own  consciences ;  and  the  threads  of 
reasoning,  on  which  truth  is  suspended,  are  fre- 
quently drawn  to  such  subtility,  that  common  eyes 
cannot  perceive,  and  common  sensibility  cannot  feel 

The  whole  doctrine,  as  well  as  practice  of  secrecy, 
is  so  perplexing  and  dangerous,  that,  next  to  him 

142  RAMBLER.  NO.    13. 

who  is  compelled  to  trust,  I  think  him  unhappy  who 
is  chosen  to  be  trusted ;  for  he  is  often  involved  in 
scruples  without  the  liberty  of  calling  in  the  help  of 
any  other  understanding;  he  is  frequently  drawn 
into  guilt,  under  the  appearance  of  friendship  and 
honesty  ;  and  sometimes  subjected  to  suspicion  by 
the  treachery  of  others,  who  are  engaged  without 
his  knowledge  in  the  same  schemes ;  for  he  that  has 
one  confidant  has  generally  more,  and  when  he  is 
at  last  betrayed,  is  in  doubt  on  whom  he  shall  fix 
the  crime. 

The  rules,  therefore,  that  I  shall  propose  con- 
cerning secrecy,  and  from  which  I  think  it  not  safe 
to  deviate,  without  long  and  exact  deliberation, 
are :  Never  to  solicit  the  knowledge  of  a  secret. 
Not  willingly,  nor  without  many  limitations,  to  ac- 
cept such  confidence  when  it  is  offered.  When  a 
secret  is  once  admitted,  to  consider  the  trust  as  of  a 
very  high  nature,  important  as  society,  and  sacred 
as  truth,  and  therefore  not  to  be  violated  for  any 
incidental  convenience,  or  slight  appearance  of  con- 
trary fitness. 

NO.    14.  RAMBLER.  143 

No.  14.     SATURDAY,  MAY  5,  1750. 

— Nil  fuit  unquam 
Sic  dispar  sibi. — 

Sure  such  a  various  creature  ne'er  was  known. 


Among  the  many  inconsistencies  which  folly  pro- 
duces or  infirmity  suffers  in  the  human  mind,  there 
has  often  been  observed  a  manifest  and  striking 
contrariety  between  the  life  of  an  author  and  his 
writings  ;  and  Milton,  in  a  letter  to  a  learned  stranger 
by  whom  he  had  been  visited,  with  great  reason 
congratulates  himself  upon  the  consciousness  of 
being  found  equal  to  his  own  character,  and  having 
preserved,  in  a  private  and  familiar  interview,  that 
reputation  which  his  works  had  procured  him. 

Those  whom  the  appearance  of  virtue,  or  the  evi- 
dence of  genius,  have  tempted  to  a  nearer  knowledge 
of  the  writer  in  whose  performances  they  may  be 
found,  have,  indeed,  had  frequent  reason  to  repent 
their  curiosity  ;  the  bubble  that  sparkled  before  them 
has  become  common  water  at  the  touch;  the  phan- 
tom of  perfection  has  vanished  when  they  wished  to 
press  it  to  their  bosom.  They  have  lost  the  pleasure 
of  imagining  how  far  humanity  may  be  exalted,  and, 
perhaps,  felt  themselves  less  inclined  to  toil  up  the 
steeps  of  virtue,  when  they  observe  those  who 
seem  best  able  to  point  the  way,  loitering  below, 
as  either  afraid  of  the  labour,  or  doubtful  of  the 

144  '  RAMBLER.  NO.    14. 

It  has  been  long  the  custom  of  the  oriental  mon- 
archs  to  hide  themselves  in  gardens  and  palaces, 
to  avoid  the  conversation  of  mankind,  and  to  be 
known  to  their  subjects  only  by  their  edicts.  The 
same  policy  is  no  less  necessary  to  him  that  writes, 
than  to  him  that  governs ;  for  men  would  not  more 
patiently  submit  to  be  taught,  than  commanded,  by 
one  known  to  have  the  same  follies  and  weaknesses 
with  themselves.  A  sudden  intruder  into  the  closet 
of  an  author,  would,  perhaps,  feel  equal  indignation 
with  the  officer,  who  having  long  solicited  admission 
into  the  presence  of  Sardanapalus,  saw  him  not  con- 
sulting upon  laws,  inquiring  into  grievances,  or 
modelling  armies,  but  employed  in  feminine  amuse- 
ments, and  directing  the  ladies  in  their  work. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  conceive,  however,  that  for 
many  reasons  a  man  writes  much  better  than  he 
lives.  For,  without  entering  into  refined  specula- 
tions, it  may  be  shown  much  easier  to  design  than 
to  perform.  A  man  proposes  his  schemes  of  life  in 
a  state  of  abstraction  and  disengagement,  exempt 
from  the  enticements  of  hope,  the  solicitations  of 
affection,  the  importunities  of  appetite,  or  the  de- 
pressions of  fear ;  and  is  in  the  same  state  with  him 
that  teaches  upon  land  the  art  of  navigation,  to 
whom  the  sea  is  always  smooth,  and  the  wind  always 

The  mathematicians  are  well  acquainted  with  the 
difference  between  pure  science,  which  has  to  do 
only  with  ideas,  and  the  application  of  its  laws  to 
the  use  of  life,  in  which  they  are  constrained  to  sub- 
mit to  the  imperfection  of  matter  and  the  influence 
of  accidents.  Thus,  in  moral  discussions,  it  is  to  be 
remembered  that  many  impediments  obstruct  our 
practice,  which  very  easily  give  way  to  theory.  The 
speculatist  is  only  in  danger  of  erroneous  reasoning, 

NO.    14.  RAMBLER.  145 

but  the  man  involved  in  life  has  his  own  passions, 
and  those  of  others,  to  encounter,  and  is  embarrassed 
with  a  thousand  inconveniences,  which  confound 
him  with  variety  of  impulse,  and  either  perplex  or 
obstruct  his  way.  He  is  forced  to  act  without  delib- 
eration, and  obliged  to  choose  before  he  can  exam- 
ine ;  he  is  surprised  by  sudden  alterations  of  the 
state  of  things,  and  changes  his  measures  according 
to  superficial  appearances ;  he  is  led  by  others,, 
either  because  he  is  indolent,  or  because  he  is 
timorous ;  he  is  sometimes  afraid  to  know  what  is 
right,  and  sometimes  finds  friends  or  enemies  diligent* 
to  deceive  him. 

We  are,  therefore,  not  to  wonder  that  most  fail, 
amidst  tumult,  and  snares,  and  danger,  in  the  ob- 
servance of  those  precepts,  which  they  lay  down  in 
solitude,  safety,  and  tranquillity,  with  a  mind  un- 
biased, and  with  liberty  unobstructed.  It  is  the 
condition  of  our  present  state  to  see  more  than  we 
can  attain ;  the  exactest  vigilance  and  caution  can 
never  maintain  a  single  day  of  unmingled  innocence, 
much  less  can  the  utmost  effbrts  of  incorporated 
mind  reach  the  summits  of  speculative  virtue. 

It  is,  however,  necessary  for  the  idea  of  perfec- 
tion to  be  proposed,  that  we  may  have  some  object 
to  which  our  endeavours  are  to  be  directed ;  and  he 
that  is  most  deficient  in  the  duties  of  life,  makes 
some  atonement  for  his  faults,  if  he  warns  others 
against  his  own  failings,  and  hinders,  by  the  salu- 
brity of  his  admonitions,  the  contagion  of  his  ex- 

Nothing  is  more  unjust,  however  common,  than 
to  cliarge  with  liypocrisy  him  that  expresses  zeal 
for  those  virtues  which  he  neglects  to  practise  ;  since 
he  may  be  sincerely  convinced  of  the  advantages  of 
conquering  his  passions,  witliout  having  yet  obtained 

VOL.    XVI.  10 

14.6  RAMBLER.  NO.    li. 

the  victory,  as  a  man  may  be  confident  of  the  ad- 
vantages of  a  voyage,  or  a  journey,  without  having 
courage  or  industry  to  undertake  it,  and  may  hon- 
estly recommend  to  others,  those  attempts  which 
he  neglects  himself. 

The  interest  which  the  corrupt  part  of  mankind  . 
have  in  hardening  themselves  against  every  motive 
to  amendment,  has  disposed  them  to  give  to  these 
contradiction,  when  they  can  be  produced  against 
the  cause  of  virtue,  that  weight  which  they  will  not 
allow  them  in  any  other  case.  They  see  men  act 
in  opposition  to  their  interest,  without  supposing 
that  they  do  not  know  it ;  those  who  give  way  to  the 
sudden  violence  of  passion,  and  forsake  the  most 
important  pursuits  for  petty  pleasures,  are  not  sup- 
posed to  have  changed  their  opinions,  or  to  approve 
their  own  conduct.  In  moral  or  religious  questions 
alone  they  determine  the  sentiments  by  the  actions, 
and  charge  every  man  with  endeavouring  to  impose 
upon  the  world,  whose  writings  are  not  confirmed 
by  his  life.  They  never  consider  that  themselves 
neglect  or  practise  something  every  day  inconsist- 
ently with  their  own  settled  judgment,  nor  discover 
that  the  conduct  of  the  advocates  for  virtue  can  little 
increase,  or  lessen,  the  obligations  of  their  dictates ; 
argument  is  to  be  invalidated  only  by  argument, 
and  is  in  itself  of  the  same  force,  whether  or  not  it 
convinces  him  by  whom  it  is  proposed. 

Yet  since  this  prejudice,  however  unreasonable, 
is  always  likely  to  have  some  prevalence,  it  is  the 
duty  of  every  man  to  take  care  lest  he  should  hinder 
the  efficacy  of  his  own  instructions.  When  he  de- 
sires to  gain  the  belief  of  others,  he  should  show  that 
he  believes  himself;  and  when  he  teaches  the  fitness 
of  virtue  by  his  reasonings,  he  should,  by  his  ex- 
ample, prove  its  possibility ;  thus  much  at  least  may 

NO.    14.  RAMBLER.  147 

be  required  of  him,  that  he  shall  not  act  worse  than 
others  because  he  writes  better,  nor  imagine  that, 
by  the  merit  of  his  genius,  he  may  claim  indulgence 
beyond  mortals  of  the  lower  classes,  and  be  excused 
for  want  of  prudence,  or  neglect  of  virtue. 

Bacon,  in  his  history  of  the  winds,  after  having 
offered  something  to  the  imagination  as  desirable, 
often  proposes  lower  advantages  in  its  place  to  the 
reason  as  attainable.  The  same  method  may  be 
sometimes  pursued  in  moral  endeavours,  which  this 
philosopher  has  observed  in  natural  inquiries  ;  hav- 
ing first  set  positive  and  absolute  excellence  before 
us,  we  may  be  pardoned  though  we  sink  down  to 
humbler  virtue,  trying,  however,  to  keep  our  point 
always  in  view,  and  struggling  not  to  lose  ground, 
though  we  cannot  gain  it. 

It  is  recorded  of  Sir  Matthew  Hale,  that  he,  for 
a  long  time,  concealed  the  consecration  of  himself 
to  the  stricter  duties  of  religion,  lest,  by  some  flagi- 
tious and  shameful  action,  be  should  bring  piety 
into  disgrace.  For  the  same  reason  it  may  be 
prudent  for  a  writer,  who  apprehends  that  he  shall 
not  enforce  his  own  maxims  by  his  domestic  char- 
acter, to  conceal  his  name,  that  he  may  not  injure 

There  are,  indeed,  a  great  number  whose  curiosity 
to  gain  a  more  familiar  knowledije  of  successful 
writers,  is  not  so  much  prompted  by  an  opinion  of 
their  power  to  improve  as  to  delight,  and  who  expect 
from  tliem  not  arguments  against  vice,  or  disserta- 
tions on  tem[)erance  or  justice,  but  flights  of  wit  and 
sallies  of  pleasantry,  or,  at  least,  acute  remarks, 
nice  distinctions,  justness  of  sentiment,  and  elegance 
of  diction. 

This  expectation  is,  indeed,  specious  and  probable, 
and  yet;  such  is  the  fate  of  all  human  hopes,  that  it 

148  RAMBLER.  NO.    14. 

is  very  often  frustrated,  and  those  who  raise  admira- 
tion by  their  books,  disgust  by  their  company.  A 
man  of  letters,  for  the  most  part,  spends  in  the  priva- 
cies of  study  that  season  of  life  in  which  the  manners 
are  to  be  softened  into  ease,  and  polished  into 
elegance ;  and,  when  he  has  gained  knowledge 
enough  to  be  respected,  has  neglected  the  minuter 
acts  by  which  he  might  have  pleased.  When  he 
enters  life,  if  his  temper  be  soft  and  timorous,  he  is 
diffident  and  bashful,  from  the  knowledge  of  his 
defects  ;  or  if  he  was  born  with  spirit  and  resolution, 
he  is  ferocious  and  arrogant,  from  the  consciousness 
of  his  merit ;  he  is  either  dissipated  by  the  awe  of 
company,  and  unable  to  recollect  his  reading  and 
arrange  his  arguments  ;  or  he  is  hot  and  dogmatical, 
quick  in  opposition,  and  tenacious  in  defence,  dis- 
abled by  his  own  violence,  and  confused  by  his  haste 
to  triumph. 

The  graces  of  writing  and  conversation  are  of 
different  kinds,  and  though  he  who  excels  in  one 
might  have  been,  with  opportunities  and  application, 
equally  successful  in  the  other,  yet  as  many  please 
by  extemporary  talk,  though  utterly  unacquainted 
with  the  more  accurate  method,  and  more  laboured 
beauties,  which  composition  requires ;  so  it  is  very 
possible  that  men,  wholly  accustomed  to  works  of 
study,  may  be  without  that  readiness  of  conception, 
and  affluence  of  language,  always  necessary  to  collo- 
quial entertainment.  They  may  want  address  to 
watch  the  hints  which  conversation  offers  for  the 
display  of  their  particular  attainments,  or  they  may 
be  so  much  unfurnished  with  matter  on  common 
subjects,  that  discourse  not  professedly  literary 
glides  over  them  as  heterogeneous  bodies,  without 
admitting  their  conceptions  to  mix  in  the  circulation. 

A  transition  from  an  author's  book  to  his  conver- 

NO.    16.  RAMBLER.  149 

sation,  is  too  often  like  an  entrance  into  a  large  city, 
after  a  distant  prospect.  Remotely,  we  see  nothing 
but  spires  of  temples  and  turrets  of  palaces,  and 
imagine  it  the  residence  of  splendour,  grandeur,  and 
magniticence ;  but  when  we  have  passed  the  gates, 
we  find  it  perplexed  with  narrow  passages,  disgraced 
with  despicable  cottages,  embarrassed  with  obstruc- 
tions, and  clouded  with  smoke. 

No.  15.     TUESDAY,  MAY  8,  1750. 

Et  qxiando  uberior  vitiorum  copin  ?     Quando 

Major  avaiitice  paiuit  sinus  f    Aha  quando 

Has  amnios  f —  JUV.  SAT.  i.  87. 

What  age  so  large  a  crop  of  vices  bore, 

Or  when  was  avarice  extended  more? 

When  were  the  dice  witli  more  profusion  thrown? 


There  is  no  grievance,  public  or  prirate,  of  which, 
since  I  took  upon  me  the  office  of  a  periodical  moni- 
tor, I  have  received  so  many,  or  so  earnest  com- 
plaints, as  of  the  predominance  of  play ;  of  a  fatal 
passion  for  cards  and  dice,  which  seems  to  have 
overturned,  not  only  the  ambition  of  excellence, 
but  the  desire  of  pleasure  ;  to  have  extinguished  the 
flames  of  the  lover,  as  well  as  of  the  patriot;  and 
threatens,  in  its  further  progress,  to  destroy  all 
distinctions,  both  of  rank  and  sex,  to  crush  all  emu- 
lation but  that  of  fraud,  to  corrupt  all  those  classes 
of  our  people  whose  ancestors  have  by  their  virtue, 

150  RAMBLER.  NO.    15. 

their  industry,  or  their  parsimony,  given  thera  the 
power  of  living  in  extravagance,  idleness,  and  vice, 
and  to  leave  them  without  knowledge,  but  of  the 
modish  games,  and  without  wishes,  but  for  lucky 

I  have  found,  by  long  experience,  that  there  are 
few  enterprises  so  hopeless  as  contests  with  the 
fashion,  in  which  the  opponents  are  not  only  made 
confident  by  their  numbers  and  strong  by  their 
union,  but  are  hardened  by  contempt  for  their  antag- 
onist, whom  they  always  look  upon  as  a  wretch  of 
low  notions,  contracted  views,  mean  conversation, 
and  narrow  fortune,  who  envies  the  elevations  which 
he  cannot  reach,  who  would  gladly  imbitter  the 
happiness  which  his  inelegance  or  indigence  deny 
'  him  to  partake,  and  who  has  no  other  end  in  his 
advice,  than  to  revenge  his  own  mortification  by 
hindering  those  whom  their  birth  and  taste  have  set 
above  him,  from  the  enjoyment  of  their  superiority, 
and  bringing  them  down  to  a  level  with  himself. 

Though  I  have  never  found  myself  much  affected 
by  this  formidable  censure,  which  I  have  incurred 
often  enough  to  be  acquainted  with  its  full  force, 
yet  I  shall,  in  some  measure,  obviate  it  on  this  occa- 
sion by  offering  very  little  in  my  own  name,  either 
of  argument  or  entreaty,  since  those  who  suffer  by 
this  general  infatuation  may  be  supposed  best  able 
to  relate  its  effects. 

"  SIR, 

"  There  seems  to  be  so  little  knowledge  left  in 
the  world,  and  so  little  of  that  reflection  practised 
by  which  knowledge  is  to  be  gained,  that  I  am  in 
doubt  whether  I  shall  be  understood,  when  I  com- 
plain of  want  of  opportunity  for  thinking  ;  or  whether 
a  condemnation,  which  at  present  seems  irreversible, 

NO.    15.  RAMBLER.  151 

to  perpetual  ignorance,  will  raise  any  compassion, 
either  in  you  or  your  readers  ;  yet  I  will  venture  to 
lay  my  state  before  you,  because  I  believe  it  is  nat- 
ural, to  most  minds,  to  take  some  pleasure  in  com- 
plaining of  evils,  of  which  they  have  no  reason  to 
be  ashamed. 

"  I  am  the  daughter  of  a  man  of  great  fortune, 
whose  diffidence  of  mankind,  and,  perhaps,  the  pleas- 
ure of  continual  accumulation,  incline  him  to  reside 
upon  his  own  estate,  and  to  educate  his  children  in 
his  own  house,  where  I  was  bred,  if  not  with  the 
most  brilliant  examples  of  virtue  before  my  eyes,  at 
least  remote  enough  from  any  incitements  to  vice ; 
and  wanting  neither  leisure  nor  books,  nor  the  ac- 
quaintance of  some  persons  of  learning  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, I  endeavoured  to  acquire  such  knowledge 
as  mi2;ht  most  recommend  me  to  esteem,  and  thouii-ht 
myself  able  to  support  a  conversation  upon  most  of 
the  subjects  which  my  sex  and  condition  made  it 
proper  for  me  to  understand. 

''  I  had,  besides  my  knowledge,  as  my  mamma 
and  my  maid  told  me,  a  very  fine  face,  and  elegant 
shape,  and  with  all  these  advantages  had  been 
seventeen  months  the  rei^'niu'i;  toast  for  twelve 
miles  round,  and  never  came  to  the  monthly  as- 
sembly, but  I  heard  the  old  ladies  that  sat  by  wish- 
ing tliat  it  might  end  well,  and  their  daughters 
criticizing  my  air,  my  features,  or  my  dress. 

"You  know,  Mr.  Rambler,  that  ambition  is  nat- 
ural to  youth,  and  curiosity  to  understanding ;  and 
therefore  will  hear,  without  wonder,  that  I  was  de- 
sirous to  extend  my  victories  over  those  who  miglit 
give  more  honour  to  the  conqueror;  and  tiiat  1  toinid 
in  a  country  life  a  continual  repetition  of  tlie  same 
pleasure,  which  was  not  sufficient  to  1111  up  the  mind 
for  tlic   present,  or   raise  any  expectations   of  the 

152  RAMBLER.  NO.    15. 

future  ;  and  I  will  confess  to  you,  that  I  was  impa- 
tient for  a  sight  of  the  town,  and  filled  my  thoughts 
with  the  discoveries  which  I  should  make,  the  tri- 
umphs that  I  should  obtain,  and  the  praises  that  I 
should  receive. 

"At  last  the  time  came.  My  aunt,  whose  hus- 
band has  a  seat  in  parliament,  and  a  place  at  court, 
buried  her  only  child,  and  sent  for  me  to  supply  the 
loss.  The  hope  that  I  should  so  far  insinuate  my- 
self into  their  favour  as  to  obtain  a  considerable 
augmentation  of  my  fortune,  procured  me  every  con- 
venience for  my  departure,  with  great  expedition ; 
and  I  could  not,  amidst  all  my  transports,  forbear 
some  indignation,  to  see  with  what  readiness  the 
natural  guardians  of  my  virtue  sold  me  to  a  state 
which  they  thought  more  hazardous  than  it  really 
was,  as  soon  as  a  new  accession  of  fortune  glittered 
in  their  eye. 

"  Three  days  I  was  upon  the  road,  and  on  the 
fourth  morning  my  heart  danced  at  the  sight  of 
London.  I  was  set  down  at  my  aunt's,  and  entered 
upon  the  scene  of  action.  I  expected  now,  from 
the  age  and  experience  of  my  aunt,  some  prudential 
lessons  ;  but,  after  the  first  civilities  and  first  tears 
were  over,  was  told  what  pity  it  was  to  have  kept 
so  fine  a  girl  so  long  in  the  country  ;  for  the  people 
who  did  not  begin  young,  seldom  dealt  their  cards 
handsomely  or  played  them  tolerably. 

"  Young  persons  are  commonly  inclined  to  slight 
the  remarks  and  counsels  of  their  elders.  I  smiled, 
perhaps,  with  too  much  contempt,  and  was  upon  the 
point  of  telling  her,  that  my  time  had  not  been  past 
in  such  trivial  attainments.  But  I  soon  found  that 
things  are  to  be  estimated,  not  by  the  importance  of 
their  elFects,  but  the  frequency  of  their  use. 

"  A  few  days  after,  my  aunt  gave  me  notice,  that 

NO.    15.  RAMBLER.  153 

some  company,  which  she  had  been  six  weeks  in  col- 
lecting, was  to  meet  that  evening,  and  she  expected 
a  finer  assembly  than  had  been  seen  all  the  winter. 
She  expressed  tkis  in  the  jargon  of  a  gamester,  and, 
when  I  asked  an  explication  of  her  terms  of  art, 
wondered  where  I  had  lived.  I  had  already  found 
my  aunt  so  incapable  of  any  rational  conclusion,  and 
so  ignorant  of  every  thing,  whether  great  or  little, 
that  I  had  lost  all  regard  to  her  opinion,  and  dressed 
myself  with  great  expectations  of  opportunity  to  dis- 
play my  charms  among  rivals,  whose  competition 
would  not  dishonour  me.  The  company  came  in  ; 
and,  after  the  cursory  compliments  of  salutation, 
alike  easy  to  the  lowest  and  the  highest  understand- 
ing, what  was  the  result  ?  The  cards  were  broke 
open,  the  parties  were  formed,  the  whole  night 
passed  in  a  game,  upon  which  the  young  and  old 
were  equally  employed ;  nor  was  I  able  to  attract 
an  eye,  or  gain  an  ear ;  but  being  compelled  to  play 
without  skill,  I  perpetually  embarrassed  my  part- 
ner, and  soon  perceived  the  contempt  of  the  whole 
table  gathering  upon  me. 

"  I  cannot  but  suspect.  Sir,  that  this  odious  fash- 
ion is  produced  by  a  conspiracy  of  the  old,  the 
ugly,  and  the  ignorant,  against  the  young  and  beau- 
tiful, the  witty  and  the  gay,  as  a  contrivance  to  level 
all  distinctions  of  nature  and  of  art,  to  confound  the 
world  in  a  chaos  of  folly,  to  take  from  those  who 
could  outshine  them  all  the  advantages  of  mind  and 
body,  to  withhold  youth  from  its  natural  pleasures, 
deprive  wit  of  its  inHuence,  and  beauty  of  its  charms, 
to  fix  those  hearts  upon  money,  to  which  love  has 
hitherto  been  entitled,  to  sink  life  into  a  tedious  uni- 
formity, and  to  allow  it  no  other  hopes  or  fears,  but 
those  of  robbinjj,  and  beinjjr  robbed. 

"  Be  pleased,  Sir,  to  inform  those  of  my  sex,  who 

154  RAMBLER.  NO.   15. 

have  minds  capable  of  nobler  sentiments,  that  if  they 
■will  unite  in  vindication  of  their  pleasures  and  their 
prerogatives,  they  may  fix  a  time,  at  which  cards 
shall  cease  to  be  in  fashion,  or  be  left  only  to  those 
who  have  neither  beauty  to  be  loved,  nor  spirit  to 
be  feared ;  neither  knowledge  to  teach,  nor  modesty 
to  learn ;  and  who,  having  passed  their  youth  in  vice, 
are  justly  condemned  to  spend  their  age  in  folly. 

"  I  am.  Sir,  &c., 

"  Cleora." 

"  SIR, 

"  Vexation  will  burst  my  heart  if  I  do  not  give  it 
vent.  As  you  publish  a  paper,  I  insist  upon  it,  that 
you  insert  this  in  your  next,  as  ever  you  hope  for 
the  kindness  and  encouragement  of  any  woman  of 
taste,  spirit,  and  virtue.  I  would  have  it  published 
to  the  world,  how  deserving  wives  are  used  by 
imperious  coxcombs,  that  henceforth  no  woman  may 
marry,  who  has  not  the  patience  of  Grizzel.  Nay, 
if  even  Grizzel  had  been  married  to  a  gamester,  her 
temper  would  never  have  held  out.  A  wretch  that 
loses  his  good-humour  and  humanity  along  with  his 
money,  and  will  not  allow  enough  from  his  own 
extravagances  to  support  a  woman  of  fashion  in  the 
necessary  amusements  of  life ! — Why  does  not  he 
emplo}^  his  wdse  head  to  make  a  figure  in  parlia- 
ment, raise  an  estate,  and  get  a  title  ?  That  would 
be  fitter  for  the  master  of  a  family,  than  rattling  a 
noisy  dice-box ;  and  then  he  might  indulge  his  wife 
in  a  few  slight  expenses  and  elegant  diversions. 

"  What  if  I  was  unfortunate  at  Brag  ? — Should  he 
not  have  stayed  to  see  how  luck  would  turn  another 
time  ?  Instead  of  that,  what  does  he  do,  but  picks  a 
quarrel,  upbraids  me  with  loss  of  beauty,  abuses  ray 
acquaintance,  ridicules  my  play,  and  insults  my  un- 

NO.    15.  RAMBLER.  155 

.derstanding  ;  says,  forsooth,  tliat  women  have  not 
heads  enough  to  phiy  with  any  thing  but  dolls,  and 
that  they  should  be  employed  in  things  proportion- 
able to  their  understanding,  keep  at  home,  and  mind 
family  affairs. 

"  I  do  stay  at  home,  Sir,  and  all  the  world  knows  T 
am  at  home  every  Sunday.  I  have  had  six  routs  this 
winter,  and  sent  out  ten  packs  of  cards  in  invitations 
to  private  parties.  As  for  management,  I  am  sure 
he  cannot  call  me  extravagant,  or  say  I  do  not  mind 
my  family.  The  children  are  out  at  nurse  in  villages, 
as  cheap  as  any  two  little  brats  can  be  kept,  nor 
have  I  ever  seen  them  since ;  so  he  has  no  trouble 
about  them.  The  servants  live  at  board  wages.  My 
own  dinners  come  from  the  Thatched  House ;  and 
I  have  never  paid  a  penny  for  any  thing  I  have 
bought  since  I  was  married.  As  for  play,  I  do 
think  I  may,  indeed,  indulge  in  that,  now  I  am  my 
own  mistress.  Papa  made  me  drudge  at  whist  till 
I  was  tired  of  it ;  and,  far  from  wanting  a  head,  Mr. 
Hoyle,  when  he  had  not  given  me  above  forty  les- 
sons, said  I  was  one  of  his  best  scholars.  I  thought 
then  with  myself,  that,  if  once  I  was  at  liberty,  I 
would  leave  play,  and  take  to  reading  romances, 
tilings  so  forbidden  at  our  house,  and  so  railed  at, 
that  it  was  impossible  not  to  fancy  them  very  charm- 
ing. ]Most  fortunately,  to  save  me  from  absolute 
undutifulness,  just  as  I  was  married,  came  dear 
Brag  into  fashion,  and  ever  since  it  has  been  the  joy 
of  my  life  ;  so  easy,  so  cheerful  and  careless,  so 
void  of  thought,  and  so  genteel !  Who  can  help  lov- 
ino;  it?  Yet  the  ijerfidious  thinjj  has  used  me  very 
ill  of  late,  and  to-morrow  I  siiould  have  changed  it 
for  Faro.       But,  oh  !   this   detestable   to-morrow,  a 

thing  always  expected,  and  never  found. Within 

these  few  hours  must  I  be  dragged  into  the  country. 

156  RAMBLER.  NO.    16. 

The  wretch,  Sir,  left  me  in  a  fit,  which  his  threaten- 
ings  had  occasioned,  and  unmercifully  ordered  a 
postchaise.     Stay  I  cannot,  for  money  I  have  none, 

and  credit  I  cannot  get But  I  will  make  the 

monkey  play  with  me  at  piquet  upon  the  road  for 
all  I  want.  I  am  almost  sure  to  beat  him,  and  his 
debts  of  honour  I  know  he  will  pay.  Then  who 
can  tell  but  I  may  still  come  back  and  conquer  Lady 
Packer?  Sir,  you  need  not  print  this  last  scheme, 
and,  upon  second  thoughts,  you  may. Oh,  dis- 
traction !  the  postchaise  is  at  the  door.  Sir,  publish 
what  you  will,  only  let  it  be  printed  without  a  name." 

No.  16.     SATURDAY,  MAY  12,  1750. 

—  Torrens  dicendi  copia  multis, 
Et  sua  mortifera  est  facundia. —  juv.  SAT.  x.  9. 

Some  who  the  depths  of  eloquence  have  found, 

In  that  unnavigable  stream  were  drown' d.       drtden. 

"  SIR, 

"  I  AM  the  modest  young  man  whom  you  favoured 
with  your  advice,  in  a  late  paper  ;  and,  as  I  am  very 
far  from  suspecting  that  you  foresaw  the  number- 
less inconveniencies  which  I  have,  by  following  it, 
brought  upon  myself,  I  will  lay  my  condition  open 
before  you ;  for  you  seem  bound  to  extricate  me 
from  the  perplexities,  in  which  your  counsel,  how- 
ever innocent  in  the  intention,  has  contributed  to 
involve  me. 

NO.    16.  RAMBLER.  157 

"  You  told  me,  as  you  thought  to  my  comfort,  tliat 
a  writer  might  easily  find  means  of  introducing  his 
genius  to  the  world,  for  the  presses  of  England  were 
open.  This  I  have  now  fatally  experienced ;  the 
press  is,  indeed,  open, 

— Facilis  descensus  Avemi, 
Nodes  atque  dies  putet  atri  janua  Ditis. 

VIRG.  iEN.  vi.  126. 

The  gates  of  hell  are  open  night  and  day; 

Smooth  the  descent,  and  easy  is  the' way.         dryden. 

"  The  means  of  doing  hurt  to  ourselves  are  always 
at  hand.  I  immediately  sent  to  a  printer,  and  con- 
tracted with  him  for  an  impression  of  several  thou- 
sands of  my  pamphlet.  While  it  was  at  the  press, 
I  was  seldom  absent  from  the  printing-house,  and 
continually  urged  the  workmen  to  haste,  by  solicita- 
tions, promises,  and  rewards.  From  the  day  all 
other  pleasures  were  excluded,  by  the  delightful 
employment  of  correcting  the  sheets  ;  and  from  the 
night  sleep  was  generally  banished,  by  anticipations 
of  the  happiness  which  every  hour  was  bringing 

"  At  last  the  time  of  publication  approached,  and 
my  heart  beat  with  the  raptures  of  an  author.  I  was 
above  all  little  precautions,  and,  in  defiance  of  envy 
or  of  criticism,  set  my  name  upon  the  title,  without 
sufficiently  considering,  that  what  has  once  passed 
the  press  is  irrevocable,  and  that  though  tiic  printing- 
house  may  properly  be  compared  to  the  infernal 
regions,  for  the  facility  of  its  entrance,  and  the  diffi- 
culty with  which  authors  return  from  it;  yet  there 
is  this  ditf'erence,  that  a  great  genius  can  never  re- 
turn to  his  former  state,  by  a  happy  draught  of  the 
waters  of  oblivion. 

"I  am  now,  Mr.  Rambler,  known  to  be  an  author, 

158  RAMBLER.  NO.    16. 

and  am  condemned,  irreversibly  condemned,  to  all 
the  miseries  of  high  reputation.  The  first  morning 
after  publication  my  friends  assembled  about  me ;  I 
presented  each,  as  is  usual,  with  a  copy  of  my  book. 
They  looked  into  the  first  pages,  but  were  hindered, 
by  their  admiration,  from  reading  further.  The 
first  pages  are,  indeed,  very  elaborate.  Some  pas- 
sages they  particularly  dwelt  upon,  as  more  emi- 
nently beautiful  than  the  rest ;  and  some  delicate 
strokes,  and  secret  elegances,  I  pointed  out  to  them, 
which  had  escaped  their  observation.  I  then  begged 
of  them  to  forbear  their  compliments,  and  invited 
them,  I  could  do  no  less,  to  dine  with  me  at  a  tavern. 
After  dinner,  the  book  was  resumed ;  but  their  praises 
very  often  so  much  overpowered  my  modesty,  that  I 
was  forced  to  put  about  the  glass,  and  had  often  no 
means  of  repressing  the  clamours  of  their  admi- 
ration, but  by  thundering  to  the  drawer  for  another 

"  Next  morning  another  set  of  my  acquaintance 
congratulated  me  upon  my  performance,  with  such 
importunity  of  praise,  that  I  was  again  forced  to 
obviate  their  civilities  by  a  treat.  On  the  third  day 
I  had  yet  a  greater  number  of  applauders  to  put  to 
silence  in  the  same  manner ;  and,  on  the  fourth, 
those  whom  I  had  entertained  the  first  day  came 
again,  having,  in  the  persual  of  the  remaining  part 
of  the  book,  discovered  so  many  forcible  sentences 
and  masterly  touches,  that  it  was  impossible  for  me 
to  bear  the  repetition  of  their  commendation.  I, 
therefore,  persuaded  them  once  more  to  adjourn  to 
the  tavern,  and  choose  some  other  subject,  on  which 
I  might  share  in  the  conversation.  But  it  was  not 
in  their  power  to  withhold  their  attention  from  my 
performance,  which  had  so  entirely  taken  possession 
of  their  minds,  that  no  entreaties  of  mine  could  change 

NO.    16.  RA3IULER.  159 

their  topic,  and  I  was  obliged  to  stifle  with  claret 
that  praise,  which  neither  my  modesty  could  hinder 
nor  my  uneasiness  repress. 

"  The  whole  week  was  thus  spent  in  a  kind  of 
literary  revel,  and  I  have  now  found  that  nothing  is 
so  expensive  as  great  abilities,  unless  there  is  joined 
with  them  an  insatiable  eagerness  of  praise ;  for  to 
escape  from  the  pain  of  hearing  myself  exalted  above 
the  greatest  names,  dead  and  living,  of  the  learned 
world,  it  has  already  cost  me  two  hogsheads  of  port, 
fifteen  gallons  of  arrac,  ten  dozen  of  claret,  and  five 
and  forty  bottles  of  champagne. 

"I  was  resolved  to  stay  at  home  no  longer,  and, 
therefore,  rose  early  and  went  to  the  coffee-house ; 
but  found  that  I  had  now  made  myself  too  eminent 
for  happiness,  and  that  I  was  no  longer  to  enjoy  the 
pleasure  of  mixing,  upon  equal  terms,  with  the  rest 
of  the  world.  As  soon  as  I  enter  the  room,  I  see 
part  of  the  company  raging  with  envy,  which  they 
endeavour  to  conceal,  sometimes  with  the  appearance 
of  laughter,  and  sometimes  with  that  of  contempt ; 
but  the  disguise  is  such  that  I  can  discover  the  se- 
cret rancour  of  their  hearts ;  and,  as  envy  is  de- 
servedly its  own  punishment,  I  frequently  indulge 
myself  in  tormenting  them  with  my  presence. 

"  But  though  there  may  be  some  slight  satisfac- 
tion received  from  the  mortification  of  my  enemies, 
yet  my  benevolence  will  not  suffer  me  to  take  any 
pleasure  in  the  terrors  of  my  friends.  I  have  been 
cautious,  since  the  appearance  of  my  work,  not  to 
give  myself  more  premeditated  airs  of  su})eriority, 
than  the  most  rigid  humility  might  allow.  It  is, 
indeed,  not  impossible  tiuit  I  may  sometimes  have 
laid  down  my  opinion  in  a  manner  that  showed  a 
consciousness  of  my  ability  to  maintain  it,  or  inter- 
rupted  the   conversation,  when  I  saw  its  tendency, 

160  KAMBLER.  NO.  16. 

without  suffering  the  speaker  to  waste  his  time  in 
explaining  his  sentiments  ;  and,  indeed,  I  did  indulge 
myself  for  two  days  in  a  custom  of  drumming  with 
my  fingers,  when  the  company  began  to  lose  them- 
selves in  absurdities,  or  to  encroach  upon  subjects 
w^hich  I  knew  them  unqualified  to  discuss.  But  I 
generally  acted  with  great  appearance  of  respect, 
even  to  those  whose  stupidity  I  pitied  in  my  heart. 
Yet,  notwithstanding  this  exemplary  moderation,  so 
universal  is  the  dread  of  uncommon  powers,  and 
such  the  unwillingness  of  mankind  to  be  made  wiser, 
that  I  have  now  for  some  days  found  myself  shunned 
by  all  my  acquaintance.  If  I  knock  at  a  door,  no- 
body is  at  home ;  if  I  enter  a  coffee-house,  I  have 
the  box  to  myself.  I  live  in  the  town  like  a  lion 
in  his  desert,  or  an  eagle  on  his  rock,  too  great  for 
friendship  or  society,  and  condemned  to  solitude,  by 
unhappy  elevation  and  dreaded  ascendency. 

"  Nor  is  my  character  only  formidable  to  others, 
but  burdensome  to  myself.  I  naturally  love  to  talk 
without  much  thinking,  to  scatter  my  merriment  at 
random,  and  to  relax  my  thoughts  with  ludicrous 
remarks  and  fanciful  images ;  but  such  is  now  the 
importance  of  my  opinion,  that  I  am  afraid  to  offer 
it,  lest,  by  being  established  too  hastily  into  a  maxim, 
it  should  be  the  occasion  of  error  to  half  the  nation ; 
and  such  is  the  expectation  with  which  I  am  at- 
tended, when  I  am  going  to  speak,  that  I  frequently 
pause  to  reflect  whether  what  I  am  about  to  utter  is 
worthy  of  myself. 

"  This,  Sir,  is  sufficiently  miserable  ;  but  there 
are  still  greater  calamities  behind.  You  must  have 
read  in  Pope  and  Swift  how  men  of  parts  have  had 
their  closets  rifled,  and  their  cabinets  broke  open,  at 
the  instigation  of  piratical  booksellers,  for  the  profit 
of  their  works ;  and  it  is  apparent,  that  there  are 

NO.    16.  RAMBLER.  161 

many  prints  now  sold  in  the  shops,  of  men  whom 
you  cannot  suspect  of  sitting  for  that  purpose,  and 
whose  likenesses  must  have  been  certainly  stolen 
when  their  names  made  their  faces  vendible.  These 
considerations  at  first  put  me  on  my  guard,  and  I 
have,  indeed,  found  sufficient  reason  for  my  caution, 
for  I  have  discovered  many  people  examining  my 
countenance,  with  a  curiosity  that  showed  their  in- 
tention to  draw  it ;  I  immediately  left  the  house,  but 
find  the  same  behaviour  in  another. 

"  Others  may  be  persecuted,  but  I  am  haunted ;  I 
have  good  reason  to  believe  that  eleven  painters  are 
now  dogging  me,  for  they  know  that  he  wlio  can  get 
mv  face  first  will  make  liis  fortune.  I  often  chan2;e 
my  wig,  and  wear  my  hat  over  my  eyes,  by  which  I 
hope  somewhat  to  confound  them ;  for  you  know  it 
is  not  fair  to  sell  my  face  without  admitting  me  to 
share  the  profit. 

"  I  am,  however,  not  so  much  in  pain  for  my  face 
as  for  my  papers,  which  I  dare  neither  carry  with 
me  nor  leave  behind.  I  have,  indeed,  taken  some 
measures  for  their  preservation,  having  put  them  in 
an  iron  chest,  and  fixed  a  padlock  upon  my  closet. 
I  change  my  lodgings  five  times  a  week,  and  always 
remove  at  the  dead  of  night. 

"  Thus  I  live,  in  consequence  of  having  given  too 
great  proofs  of  a  predominant  genius,  in  the  solitude 
of  a  hermit,  with  the  anxiety  of  a  miser,  and  the 
caution  of  an  outlaw  ;  afraid  to  show  my  face  lest  it 
should  be  copied ;  afraid  to  speak,  lest  I  should  in- 
jure my  character ;  and  to  write,  lest  my  corre- 
spondents should  publish  my  letters  ;  always  uneasy 
lest  my  servants  should  steal  my  papers  for  the  sake 
of  money,  or  my  friends  for  that  of  the  public.  This 
it  is  to  soar  above  the  rest  of  mankind  ;  and  this  rep- 
resentation  I    lay  before  you,  that  I    may  be   in- 

VOL.   XVI.  11 

162  RAMBLER.  NO.    17. 

formed  how  to  divest  myself  of  the  laurels  which 
are  so  cumbersome  to  the  wearer,  and  descend  to 
the  enjoyment  of  that  quiet  from  which  I  find  a 
writer  of  the  first  class  so  fatally  debarred. 

"  MiSELLUS." 

No.  17.    TUESDAY,  MAY  15,  1750. 

— Me  non  oracula  certum, 
Sed  mors  certa  facit. —  lucan. 

Let  those  weak  minds,  who  live  in  doubt  and  fear, 
To  juggling  priests  for  oracles  repair; 
One  certain  hour  of  death  to  each  decreed, 
My  fixed,  my  certain  soul  from  doubt  has  freed. 


It  is  recorded  of  some  eastern  monarch,  that  he 
kept  an  officer  in  his  house,  whose  employment  it 
was  to  remind  him  of  his  mortality,  by  calling  out 
every  morning  at  a  stated  hour, '  Remember,  prince, 
that  thou  shalt  die.'  And  the  contemplation  of  the 
frailness  and  uncertainty  of  our  present  state  ap- 
peared of  so  much  importance  to  Solon,  of  Athens, 
that  he  left  this  precept  to  future  ages  ;  '  Keep  thine 
eye  fixed  upon  the  end  of  life.' 

A  frequent  and  attentive  prospect  of  that  moment, 
which  must  put  a  period  to  all  our  schemes,  and 
deprive  us  of  all  our  acquisitions,  is,  indeed,  of  the 
utmost  efficacy  to  the  just  and  rational  regulation  of 
our  lives  ;  nor  would  ever  any  thing  wicked,  or  often 
any  thing  absurd,  be  undertaken  or  prosecuted  by 

NO.    17.  RAMBLER.  1G3 

him  who  should  begin  every  day  with  a  serious  re- 
flection that  he  is  born  to  die. 

The  disturbers  of  our  happiness,  in  this  world, 
are  our  desires,  our  griefs,  and  our  fears ;  and  to  all 
these,  the  consideration  of  mortality  is  a  certain  and 
adequate  remedy.  "  Think,"  says  Epictetus,  "  fre- 
quently on  poverty,  banishment,  and  death,  and  thou 
wilt  then  never  indulge  violent  desires,  or  give  up  thy 
heart  to  mean  sentiments  ovdev  ovdeTrore  Taireivov  h&v- 
fiTjaij,  ovTE  uyav  kindv^Tjaeug  TLVo^y 

That  the  maxim  of  Epictetus  is  founded  on  just 
observation  will  easily  be  granted,  when  we  reflect, 
how  that  vehemence  of  eagerness  after  the  common 
objects  of  pursuit  is  kindled  in  our  minds.  We 
represent  to  ourselves  the  pleasures  of  some  future 
possession,  and  suffer  our  thoughts  to  dwell  atten- 
tively upon  it,  till  it  has  wholly  engrossed  the  imagi- 
nation, and  permits  us  not  to  conceive  any  happiness 
but  its  attainment,  or  any  misery  but  its  loss ;  every 
other  satisfaction  which  the  bounty  of  providence 
has  scattered  over  life  is  neglected  as  inconsiderable, 
in  comparison  of  the  great  object  which  we  have 
placed  before  us,  and  is  thrown  from  us  as  incum- 
bering our  activity,  or  trampled  under  foot  as  stand- 
ing in  our  way. 

Every  man  has  experienced  how  much  of  this 
ardour  has  been  remitted,  when  a  sharp  or  tedious 
sickness  has  set  death  before  his  eye.  The  exten- 
sive influence  of  greatness,  the  glitter  of  wealth,  the 
praises  of  admirers,  and  the  attendance  of  suppli- 
cants, have  appeared  vain  and  empty  things,  when 
the  last  hour  seemed  to  be  approaching ;  and  the 
same  ap[)earance  they  would  always  have,  if  the 
same  thought  was  always  predominant.  We  should 
then  Hud  the  absurdity  of  stretching  out  our  arms 
incessantly  to  grasp  that  which  we  cannot  keep,  and 

164  RAMBLER.  NO.    17. 

wearing  out  our  lives  in  endeavours  to  add  new 
turrets  to  tlie  fabric  of  ambition,  when  the  founda- 
tion itself  is  shaking,  and  the  ground  on  which  it 
stands  is  mouldering  away. 

All  envy  is  proportionate  to  desire ;  we  are  un- 
easy at  the  attainments  of  another,  According  as  we 
think  our  own  happiness  would  be  advanced  by  the 
addition  of  that  which  he  withholds  from  us ;  and 
therefore  whatever  depresses  immoderate  wishes, 
will,  at  the  same  time,  set  the  heart  free  from  the 
corrosion  of  envy,  and  exempt  us  from  that  vice, 
which  is,  above  most  others,  tormenting  to  our- 
selves, hateful  to  the  world,  and  productive  of  mean 
artifices  and  sordid  projects.  He  that  considers  how 
soon  he  must  close  his  life,  will  find  nothing  of  so 
much  importance  as  to  close  it  well ;  and  will,  there- 
fore, look  with  indifference  upon  whatever  is  useless 
to  that  purpose.  Whoever  reflects  frequently  upon 
the  uncertainty  of  his  own  duration,  will  find  out, 
that  the  state  of  others  is  not  more  permanent,  and 
that  what  can  confer  nothing  on  himself  very  desir- 
able, cannot  so  much  improve  the  condition  of  a 
rival,  as  to  make  him  much  superior  to  those  from 
whom  he  has  carried  the  prize,  a  prize  too  mean  to 
deserye  a  very  obstinate  opposition. 
'  E^Y^n  grief,  that  passion  to  which  the  virtuous  and 
tender  mind  is  particularly  subject,  will  be  obviated 
or  alleviated  by  the  same  thoughts.  It  will  be  ob- 
viated, if  all  the  blessings  of  our  condition  are  enjoy- 
ed with  a  constant  sense  of  this  uncertain  tenure. 
If  we  remember,  that  whatever  we  possess  is  to  be 
in  our  hands  but  a  very  little  time,  and  that  the 
little,  which  our  most  lively  hopes  can  promise  us, 
may  be  made  less,  by  ten  thousand  accidents ;  we 
shall  not  much  repine  at  a  loss,  of  which  we  cannot 
estimate  the  value,  but  of  which,  though  we  are  not 

NO.    17.  RAMBLER.  1C5 

able  to  tell  the  least  amount,  we  know,  with  suffi- 
cient certainty,  the  greatest,  and  are  convinced  that 
the  greatest  is  not  much  to  be  regretted. 

But,  if  any  passion  has  so  much  usurped  our  un- 
derstanding, as  not  to  suffer  us  to  enjoy  advantages 
witli  the  moderation  prescribed  by  reason,  it  is  not 
too  late  to  apply  this  remedy,  when  we  find  our- 
selves sinking  under  sorrow,  and  inclined  to  pine  for 
that  which  is  irrecoverably  vanished.  We  may 
then  usefully  revolve  the  uncertainty  of  our  own 
condition,  and  the  folly  of  lamenting  that  from 
which,  if  it  had  stayed  a  little  longer,  we  should 
ourselves  have  been  taken  away. 

With  regard  to  the  sharpest  and  most  melting 
sorrow,  that  which  arises  from  the  loss  of  those 
whom  we  have  loved  with  tenderness,  it  may  be  ob- 
served, that  friendship  between  mortals  can  be  con- 
tracted on  no  other  terms,  than  that  one  must  some 
time  mourn  for  the  other's  death  :  And  this  grief  will 
always  yield  to  the  survivor  one  consolation  propor- 
tionate to  his  attliction  ;  for  the  pain,  whatever  it  be, 
that  he  himself  feels,  his  friend  has  escaped. 

Nor  is  fear,  the  most  overbearing  and  resistless 
of  all  our  passions,  less  to  be  temperated  by  this  uni- 
versal medicine  of  the  mind.  The  frequent  con- 
templation of  death,  as  it  shows  the  vanity  of  all 
human  good,  discovers  likewise  the  lightness  of  all 
terrestrial  evil,  which  certainly  can  last  no  longer 
than  the  subject  upon  which  it  acts  ;  and,  according 
to  the  old  observation,  must  be  shorter,  as  it  is  more 
violent.  The  most  cruel  calamity  wliich  misfortune 
can  produce,  must,  by  the  necessity  of  nature,  be 
quickly  at  an  end.  Tlie  soul  cannot  long  be  held  in 
prison,  but  will  fly  away,  and  leave  a  lifeless  body 
to  human  malice. 

166  KAMBLER.  NO.    17. 

— Rideique  sui  ludibria  trunci. 
And  soaring  mocks  the  broken  frame  below. 

The  utmost  that  we  can  threaten  to  one  another 
is  that  death,  which,  indeed,  we  may  precipitate,  but 
cannot  retard,  and  from  which,  therefore,  it  cannot 
become  a  wise  man  to  buy  a  reprieve  at  the  ex- 
pense of  virtue,  since  he  knows  not  how  small  a 
j3ortion  of  time  he  can  purchase,  but  knows,  that, 
whether  short  or  long,  it  will  be  made  less  valuable 
by  the  remembrance  of  the  price  at  which  it  has 
been  obtained.  He  is  sure  that  he  destroys  his 
happiness,  but  is  not  sure  that  he  lengthens  his  life. 

The  known  shortness  of  life,  as  it  ought  to  moder- 
ate our  passions,  may  likewise,  with  equal  propriety, 
contract  our  designs.  There  is  not  time  for  the 
most  forcible  genius,  and  most  active  industry,  to 
extend  its  effects  beyond  a  certain  sphere.  To  pro- 
ject the  conquest  of  the  world,  is  the  madness  of 
mighty  princes ;  to  hope  for  excellence  in  every 
science,  has  been  the  folly  of  literary  heroes :  and 
both  have  found  at  last,  that  they  have  panted  for  a 
height  of  eminence  denied  to  humanity,  and  have 
lost  many  opportunities  of  making,  themselves  use- 
ful and  happy,  by  a  vain  ambition  of  obtaining  a 
species  of  honour,  which  the  eternal  laws  of  Provi- 
dence have  placed  beyond  the  reach  of  man. 

The  miscarriages  of  the  great  designs  of  princes 
are  recorded  in  the  histories  of  the  world,  but  are 
of  little  use  to  the  bulk  of  mankind,  who  seem  very 
little  interested  in  admonitions  against  errors  which 
they  cannot  commit.  But  the  fate  of  learned  ambi- 
tion is  a  proper  subject  for  every  scholar  to  con- 
sider ;  for  who  has  not  had  occasion  to  regret  the 
dissipation  of  great  abilities  in  a  boundless  multi- 
plicity of  pursuits,  to  lament  the  sudden  desertion 

NO.    17.  RAMBLER.  167 

of  excellent  designs,  upon  the  offer  of  some  other 
subject  made  inviting  by  its  novelty,  and  to  observe 
the  inaccuracy  and  deficiencies  of  works  left  unfin- 
ished by  too  great  an  extension  of  the  plan  ? 

It  is  always  pleasing  to  observe,  how  much  more 
our  minds  can  conceive  than  our  bodies  can  per- 
form ;  yet  it  is  our  duty,  while  we  continue  in  this 
complicated  state,  to  regulate  one  part  of  our  compo- 
sition by  some  regard  to  the  other.  We  are  not  to 
indulge  our  corporeal  appetites  with  pleasures  that 
impair  our  intellectual  vigour,  nor  gratify  our  minds 
with  schemes  which  we  know  our  lives  must  fail  in 
attempting  to  execute.  The  uncertainty  of  our 
duration  ought  at  once  to  set  bounds  to  our  designs, 
and  add  incitements  to  our  industry ;  and  when  we 
find  ourselves  inclined  either  to  immensity  in  our 
schemes,  or  sluggishness  in  our  endeavours,  we 
may  either  check  or  animate  ourselves,  by  recol- 
lecting, with  the  father  of  physic,  '  That  art  is  long, 
and  life  is  short.' 

168  RAMBLER.  NO.    18. 

No.  18.     SATURDAY,  MAY  19,  1750. 

Illic  matre  carentibus 
Priviynis  mulier  temperat  innocens : 
Nee  dotata  regit  virum 
Conjux,  nee  nitido  fidit  adultero : 
Dos  est  magna  jmreniium 

Virtus,  et  metens  alterius  viri 

Certo  J'oidere  castitas.  hor.  car.  iii.  24.  17. 

Not  there  the  guiltless  step-dame  knows 
The  baleful  draught  for  orphans  to  compose; 

No  wife  high-portioned  rules  her  spouse, 
Or  trusts  her  essenced  lover's  faithless  vows: 

The  lovers  there  for  dowry  claim 
The  father's  virtue,  and  the  spotless  fame 

Which  dares  not  break  the  nuptial  tie.  francis. 

There  is  no  observation  more  frequently  made 
by  such  as  employ  themselves  in  surveying  the  con- 
duct of  mankind,  than  that  marriage,  though  the 
dictate  of  nature,  and  the  institution  of  Providence, 
is  yet  very  often  the  cause  of  misery,  and  that  those 
who  enter  into  that  state  can  seldom  forbear  to  ex- 
press their  repentance,  and  their  envy  of  those 
whom  either  chance  or  caution  hath  withheld 
from  it. 

This  general  unhappiness  has  given  occasion  to 
many  sage  maxims  among  the  serious,  and  smart 
remarks  among  the  gay  ;  the  moralist  and  the  writer 
of  epigrams  have  equally  shown  their  abilities  upon 
it ;  some  have  lamented,  and  some  have  ridiculed  it ; 
but  as  the  faculty  of  writing  has  been  chiefly  a  mas- 
culine endowment,  the  reproach  of  making  the  world 
miserable  has  been  always  thrown  upon  the  women, 

NO.    18.  RAMBLER.  169 

and  the  grave  and  the  merry  have  equally  thought 
themselves  at  liberty  to  conclude  eitlier  with  decla- 
matory complaints,  or  satirical  censures,  of  female 
folly  or  fickleness,  ambition  or  cruelty,  extravagance 
or  lust. 

Led  by  such  number  of  examples,  and  incited  by 
my  share  in  the  common  interest,  I  sometimes  ven- 
ture to  consider  this  universal  grievance,  having 
endeavoured  to  divest  my  heart  of  all  partiality,  and 
place  myself  as  a  kind  of  neutral  being  between  the 
sexes,  whose  clamours,  being  equally  vented  on  both 
sides  with  all  the  vehemence  of  distress,  all  the  ap- 
parent confidence  of  justice,  and  all  the  indignation 
of  injured  virtue,  seem  entitled  to  equal  regard. 
The  men  have,  indeed,  by  their  superiority  of  writ- 
ing, been  able  to  collect  the  evidence  of  many  ages, 
and  raise  prejudices  in  their  favour  by  the  venerable 
testimonies  of  philosophers,  historians,  and  poets; 
but  the  pleas  of  the  ladies  appeal  to  passions  of  more 
forcible  operation  than  the  reverence  of  antiquity. 
If  they  have  not  so  great  names  on  their  side,  they 
have  stronger  arguments  ;  it  is  to  little  purpose,  that 
Socrates,  or  Euripides,  are  produced  against  the  sighs 
of  softness  and  the  tears  of  beauty.  The  most  frigid 
and  inexorable  judge  would,  at  least,  stand  sus- 
pended between  equal  powers,  as  Lucan  was  per- 
plexed in  the  determination  of  the  cause,  where  the 
deities  were  on  one  side,  and  Cato  on  the  other. 

But  I,  who  have  long  studied  the  severest  and 
most  abstracted  philosophy,  have  now,  in  the  cool 
maturity  of  life,  arrived  at  such  command  over  my 
passions,  that  I  can  hear  the  vociferations  of  either 
sex  without  catching  any  of  the  fire  from  those  that 
utter  them.  For  I  have  found,  by  long  experience, 
that  a  man  will  sometimes  ragre  at  his  wife,  when  in 
reality  his  mistress  has  ofl'ended  him ;  and  a  lady 

170  RAMBLER.  NO.    18. 

complain  of  the  cruelty  of  her  husband,  when  she 
has  no  other  enemy  than  bad  cards.  I  do  not  suffer 
myself  to  be  any  longer  imposed  upon  by  oaths  on 
one  side,  or  fits  on  the  other;  nor  when  the  husband 
hastens  to  the  tavern,  and  the  lady  retires  to  her 
closet,  am  I  always  confident  that  they  are  driven 
by  their,  miseries ;  since  I  have  sometimes  reason  to 
believe,  that  they  purpose  not  so  much  to  soothe  their 
sorrows,  as  to  animate  their  fury.  But  how  little 
credit  soever  may  be  given  to  particular  accusations, 
the  general  accumulation  of  the  charge  shows,  with 
too  much  evidence,  that  married  persons  are  not 
very  often  advanced  in  felicity ;  and,  therefore,  it 
may  be  proper  to  examine  at  what  avenues  so  many 
evils  have  made  their  way  into  the  world.  "With 
this  purpose,  I  have  reviewed  the  lives  of  my  friends, 
who  have  been  least  successful  in  connubial  con- 
tracts, and  attentively  considered  by  what  motives 
they  w^ere  incited  to  marry,  and  by  what  principles 
they  regulated  their  choice. 

One  of  the  first  of  my  acquaintances  that  resolved 
to  quit  the  unsettled,  thoughtless  condition  of  a 
bachelor,  was  Prudentius,  a  man  of  slow  parts,  but 
not  without  knowledge  or  judgment  in  things  which 
he  had  leisure  to  consider  gradually  before  he  de- 
termined them.  Whenever  we  met  at  a  tavern,  it 
was  his  province  to  settle  the  scheme  of  our  enter- 
tainment, contract  with  the  cook,  and  inform  us  when 
we  had  called  for  wine  to  the  sum  originally  pro- 
posed. This  grave  considerer  found,  by  deep  medi- 
tation, that  a  man  was  no  loser  by  marrying  early, 
even  though  he  contented  himself  with  a  less  for- 
tune; for  estimating  the  exact  worth  of  annuities, 
he  found  that,  considering  the  constant  diminution 
of  the  value  of  life,  with  the  probable  fall  of  the 
interest  of  money,  it  was  not  worse  to  have  ten 

NO.    18.  RAMBLER.  171 

thousand  pounds  at  the  age  of  two  and  twenty  years, 
than  a  much  larger  fortune  at  thirty  ;  for  many  op- 
portunities, says  he,  occur  of  improving  money, 
which,  if  a  man  misses,  he  may  not  afterwards 

Full  of  these  reflections,  he  threw  his  eyes  about 
him,  not  in  search  of  beauty  or  elegance,  dignity  or 
understanding,  but  of  a  woman  with  ten  thousand 
pounds.  Such  a  woman,  in  a  wealthy  part  of  the 
kingdom,  it  was  not  very  difficult  to  find  ;  and  by 
artful  management  with  her  father,  whose  ambition 
was  to  make  his  daughter  a  gentlewoman,  my  friend 
got  her,  as  he  boasted  to  us  in  confidence  two  days 
after  his  marriage,  for  a  settlement  of  seventy-three 
pounds  a-year  less  than  her  fortune  might  have 
claimed,  and  less  than  he  himself  would  have  given, 
if  the  fools  had  been  but  wise  enough  to  delay  the 

Thus,  at  once,  delighted  with  the  superiority  of 
his  parts,  and  the  augmentation  of  his  fortune,  he 
carried  Furia  to  his  own  house,  in  which  he  never 
afterwards  enjoyed  one  hour  of  happiness.  For 
Furia  was  a  wretch  of  mean  intellects,  violent  pas- 
sions, a  strong  voice  and  low  education,  without  any 
sense  of  happiness  but  that  which  consisted  in  eat- 
ing and  counting  money.  Furia  was  a  scold.  They 
agreed  in  the  desire  of  wealth,  but  with  this  differ- 
ence, that  Prudentius  was  for  growing  rich  by  gain, 
Furia  by  parsimony.  Prudentius  would  venture 
his  money  with  chances  very  much  in  his  favour ; 
but  Furia  very  wisely  observing,  that  what  they  had 
was,  while  they  had  it,  their  own,  thought  all  traffic 
too  great  a  hazard,  and  was  for  putting  it  out  at  low 
interest,  upon  good  security.  Prudentius  ventured, 
however,  to  insure  a  ship,  at  a  very  unreasonable 
price,  but  happening  to  lose  his  money,  was   so  tor- 

172  RAMBLER.  NO.    18. 

merited  with  the  clamours  of  his  wife,  that  he 
never  durst  try  a  second  experiment.  He  has 
now  grovelled  seven  and  forty  years  under  Furia^s 
direction,  who  never  once  mentioned  him,  since 
his  bad  luck,  by  any  other  name  than  that  of  The 

The  next  that  married  from  our  society  was  Flo- 
rentius.  He  happened  to  see  Zephyretta  in  a 
chariot  at  a  horserace,  danced  with  her  at  night, 
was  confirmed  in  his  first  ardour,  waited  on  her  next 
morning,  and  declared  himself  her  lover.  Floren- 
tius  had  not  knowledge  enough  of  the  world,  to  dis- 
tinguish between  the  flutter  of  coquetry,  and  the 
sprightliness  of  wit,  or  between  the  smile  of  allure- 
ment, and  that  of  cheerfulness.  He  was  soon  waked 
from  his  rapture  by  conviction  that  his  pleasure 
was  but  the  pleasure  of  a  day.  Zephyretta  had 
in  four  and  twenty  hours  spent  her  stock  of  repar- 
tee, gone  round  the  circle  of  her  airs,  and  had 
nothing  remaining  for  him  but  childish  insipidity,  or 
for  herself,  but  the  practice  of  the  same  artifices 
upon  new  men. 

Melissus  was  a  man  of  parts,  capable  of  enjoying 
and  of  improving  life.  He  had  passed  through  the 
various  scenes  of  gayety  with  that  indifference  and 
possession  of  himself,  natural  to  men  who  have 
something  higher  and  nobler  in  their  prospect.  Re- 
tiring to  spend  the  summer  in  a  village  little  fre- 
quented, he  happened  to  lodge  in  the  same  house 
with  lanthe,  and  was  unavoidably  drawn  to  some 
acquaintance,  which  her  wit  and  politeness  soon 
invited  him  to  improve.  Having  no  opportunity 
of  any  other  company,  they  were  always  together ; 
and,  as  they  owed  their  pleasures  to  each  other, 
they  began  to  forget  that  any  pleasure  was  enjoyed 
before  their  meeting.  Melissus,  from  being  delighted 

NO.    18.  RAMBLER.  173 

with  her  company,  quickly  began  to  be  uneasy  in 
her  absence,  and  l3eing  sufficiently  convinced  of  the 
force  of  her  understanding,  and  finding,  as  he  ima- 
gined, such  a  conformity  of  temper  as  declared 
them  formed  for  each  other,  addressed  her  as  a 
lover,  after  no  very  long  courtship  obtained  her  for 
his  wife,  and  brought  her  next  winter  to  town  in 

Now  began  their  infelicity.  Melissus  had  only 
seen  her  in  one  scene,  where  there  was  no  variety 
of  objects,  to  produce  the  proper  excitements  to  con- 
trary desires.  They  had  both  loved  solitude  and 
reflection,  where  there  was  nothing  but  solitude  and 
reflection  to  be  loved ;  but  when  they  came  into 
public  life,  lanthe  discovered  those  passions,  which 
accident  rather  than  hypocrisy  had  hitherto  con- 
cealed. She  was,  indeed,  not  without  the  power 
of  thinking,  but  was  wholly  without  the  exertion  of 
that  power,  when  either  gayety  or  splendour  played 
on  her  imagination.  She  was  expensive  in  her  di- 
versions, vehement  in  her  passions,  insatiate  of 
pleasure,  however  dangerous  to  her  reputation,  and 
eager  of  applause  by  whomsoever  it  might  be  given. 
This  was  the  wife  which  Melissus,  the  philosopher, 
found  in  his  retirement,  and  from  whom  he  expected 
an  associate  in  his  studies,  and  an  assistant  to  his 

Prosapius,  upon  the  death  of  his  younger  brother, 
that  the  family  might  not  be  extinct,  married  his 
housekeeper,  and  has  ever  since  been  complaining 
to  his  friends  that  mean  notions  are  instilled  into  his 
children,  that  he  is  ashamed  to  sit  at  his  own  table, 
and  that  his  house  is  uneasy  to  him  for  want  of  suit- 
able companions. 

Avaro,  master  of  a  very  large  estate,  took  a 
woman  of  a  bad  reputation,  recommended  to  him  by 

174  RAMBLER.  NO.    19. 

a  rich  uncle,  who  made  that  marriage  the  condition 
on  which  he  should  be  his  heir.  Avaro  now  wonders 
to  perceive  his  own  fortune,  his  wife's,  and  his 
uncle's,  insufficient  to  give  him  that  happiness  which 
is  to  be  found  only  with  a  woman  of  virtue. 

I  intend  to  treat  in  more  papers  on  this  important 
article  of  life,  and  shall,  therefore,  make  no  reflec- 
tion upon  these  histories,  except  that  all  whom  I 
have  mentioned  failed  to  obtain  happiness  for  want 
of  considering,  that  marriage  is  the  strictest  tie  of 
perpetual  friendship,  and  there  can  be  no  friendship 
without  confidence,  and  no  confidence  without  integ- 
rity ;  and  that  he  must  expect  to  be  wretched,  who 
pays  to  beauty,  riches,  or  politeness,  that  regard 
which  onl"  virtue  and  piety  can  claim. 

No.  19.     TUESDAY,  MAY  22,  1750. 

Dum  modb  causidicum^  dum  te  modo  rhetora  fingis, 

Et  non  decernis,  Taure^  quid  esse  velis, 
Peleos  et  Priami  transit,  vel  Nestoris  cetas, 

Et  fuerat  serum  jam  tibi  desinere. — 
Eja,  age,  rumpe  moras,  quo  te  spectabimus  vsqvs  f 

Dum,  quid  sis,  dubitas,jam  j^otes  esse  nihil.  mart. 

To  vlietoric  now,  and  now  to  law  inclined, 

Uncertain  where  to  fix  thy  changing  mind; 

Old  Priam's  age,  or  Nestor's  may  be  ont, 

And  thou,  0  Taurus,  still  go  on  in  doubt. 

Come  then,  how  long  such  wavering  shall  we  see? 

Thou  may'st  doubt  on:  thou  now  can'st  nothing  be. 

F.    LEWIS. 

It  is  never  without  very  melancholy  reflections, 
that  we  can  observe  the  misconduct,  or  miscarriage, 

NO.    19.  RAMBLER.  175 

of  those  men,  who  seem  by  the  force  of  understand- 
ing, or  extent  of  knowledge,  exempted  from  the 
general  frailties  of  human  nature,  and  privileged 
from  the  common  infelicities  of  life.  Though  the 
world  is  crowded  with  scenes  of  calamity,  we  look 
upon  the  general  mass  of  wretchedness  with  very 
little  regard,  and  fix  our  eyes  upon  the  state  of  par- 
ticular persons,  whom  the  eminence  of  their  qualities 
marks  out  from  the  multitude ;  as  in  reading  an  ac- 
count of  a  battle,  we  seldom  reflect  on  the  vulgar 
heaps  of  slaughter,  but  follow  the  hero  with  our 
whole  attention,  through  all  the  varieties  of  his  for- 
tune, without  a  thought  of  the  thousands  that  are 
falling  round  him. 

With  the  same  kind  of  anxious  veneration  I  have 
for  many  years  been  making  observations  on  the 
life  of  Polyphilus,  a  man  whom  all  his  acquaintances 
have,  from  his  first  appearance  in  the  world,  feared 
for  the  quickness  of  his  discernment,  and  admired 
for  the  multiplicity  of  his  attainments,  but  whose  pro- 
gress in  life,  and  usefulness  to  mankind,  has  been 
hindered  by  the  superfluity  of  his  knowledge  and 
the  celerity  of  his  mind. 

Polyphilus  was  remarkable,  at  the  school,  for  sur- 
passing all  his  companions,  without  any  visible  ap- 
plication, and  at  the  university  was  distinguished 
equally  for  his  successful  progress  as  well  through 
the  thorny  mazes  of  science,  as  the  flowery  path  of 
politer  literature,  without  any  strict  confinement  to 
hours  of  study,  or  remarkable  forbearance  of  the 
common  amusements  of  young  men. 

When  Polyphilus  was  at  the  age  in  which  men 
usually  choose  their  profession,  and  prepare  to  enter 
into  a  public  character,  every  academical  eye  was 
fixed  upon  him;  all  were  curious  to  inquire  what 
this  universal  genius  would  fix  upon  for  the  em- 

176  RAMBLER.  NO.    19. 

plojment  of  his  life ;  and  no  doubt  was  made  but 
that  he  would  leave  all  his  contemporaries  behind 
him,  and  mount  to  the  highest  honours  of  that  class 
in  which  he  should  enlist  himself,  without  those  de- 
lays and  pauses  which  must  be  endured  by  meaneV 

Polyphilus,  though  by  no  means  insolent  or  as- 
suming, had  been  sufficiently  encouraged,  by  unin- 
terrupted success,  to  place  great  confidence  in  his 
own  parts ;  and  was  not  below  his  companions  in 
the  indulgence  of  his  hopes,  and  expectations  of  the 
astonishment  with  which  the  world  would  be  struck, 
when  first  his  lustre  should  break  out  upon  it :  nor 
could  he  forbear — for  whom  does  not  constant  flat- 
tery intoxicate  ? — to  join  sometimes  in  the  mirth  of 
his  friends,  at  the  sudden  disappearance  of  those, 
who,  having  shone  a  while,  and  drawn  the  eyes  of 
the  public  upon  their  feeble  radiance,  were  now 
doomed  to  fade  away  before  him. 

It  is  natural  for  a  man  to  catch  advantageous  no- 
tions of  the  condition  which  those,  with  whom  he 
converses,  are  striving  to  attain.  Polyphilus,  in  a 
ramble  to  London,  fell  accidentally  among  the  physi- 
cians, and  was  so  much  pleased  with  the  prospect 
of  turning  philosophy  to  profit,  and  so  highly  de- 
lighted with  a  new  theory  of  fevers  which  darted 
into  his  imagination,  and  which,  after  having  consid- 
ered it  a  few  hours,  he  found  himself  able  to  main- 
tain against  all  the  advocates  for  the  ancient  system, 
that  he  resolved  to  apply  himself  to  anatomy,  bot- 
any, and  chemistry,  and  to  leave  no  part  uncon- 
quered  either  of  the  animal,  mineral,  or  vegetable 

He  therefore  read  authors,  constructed  systems, 
and  tried  experiments  ;  but,  unhappily,  as  he  was 
going  to  see  a  new  plant  in  flower  at  Chelsea,  he 

NO.    19.  RAMBLER.  It  t 

met,  in  crossing  Westminster  to  take  water,  the 
chancellor's  coach  ;  he  had  the  curiosity  to  follow 
him  into  the  hall,  where  a  remarkable  cause  hap- 
pened to  be  tried,  and  found  himself  able  to  produce 
so  many  arguments,  which  the  lawyers  had  omitted 
on  both  sides,  that  he  determined  to  quit  physic  for 
a  profession,  in  which  he  found  it  would  be  so  easy 
to  excel,  and  which  promised  higher  honours,  and 
larger  profits,  without  melancholy  attendance  upon 
misery,  mean  submission  to  peevishness,  and  con- 
tinual interruption  of  rest  and  pleasure. 

He  immediately  took  chambers  in  the  Temple, 
bought  a  commonplace-book,  and  confined  himself 
for  some  months  to  the  perusal  of  the  statutes,  year- 
books, pleadings,  and  reports  ;  he  was  a  constant 
hearer  of  the  courts,  and  began  to  put  cases  with 
reasonable  accuracy.  But  he  soon  discovered,  by 
considering  the  fortune  of  lawyers,  that  preferment 
was  not  to  be  got  by  acuteness,  learning,  and  elo- 
quence. He  was  perplexed  by  the  absurdities  of 
attorneys,  and  misrepresentations  made  by  his  clients 
of  their  own  causes,  by  the  useless  anxiety  of  one, 
and  the  incessant  importunity  of  another;  he  began 
to  repent  of  having  devoted  himself  to  a  study,  which 
was  so  narrow  in  its  comprehension  that  it  could 
never  carry  his  name  to  any  other  country,  and 
thought  it  unworthy  of  a  man  of  parts  to  sell  his 
life  only  for  money.  The  barrenness  of  his  fellow- 
students  forced  him  generally  into  other  company 
at  his  hours  of  entertainment,  and  among  the  varie- 
ties of  conversation  through  which  his  curiosity  was 
daily  wandering,  he,  by  chance,  mingled  at  a  tavern 
with  some  intelligent  officers  of  the  army.  A  man 
of  letters  was  easily  dazzled  with  the  gayety  of  their 
appearance,  and  softened  into  kindness  by  the  polite- 
ness of  their  address ;  he,  therefore,  cultivated  this 

VOL.   XVI.  12 


178  RAMBLER.  NO.    19. 

new  acquaintance,  and  when  he  saw  how  readily 
they  found  in  every  place  admission  and  regard,  and 
how  famiharly  they  mingled  with  every  rank  and 
order  of  men,  he  began  to  feel  his  heart  beat  for 
military  honours,  and  wondered  how  the  prejudices 
of  the  university  should  make  him  so  long  insen- 
sible of  that  ambition,  which  has  fired  so  many 
hearts  in  every  age,  and  negligent  of  that  calling, 
which  is,  above  all  others,  universally  and  invari- 
ably illustrious,  and  w^hich  gives,  even  to  the  ex- 
terior appearance  of  its  professors,  a  dignity  and 
freedom  unknown  to  the  rest  of  mankind. 

These  favourable  impressions  were  made  still 
deeper  by  his  conversation  with  ladies,  whose  regard 
for  soldiers  he  could  not  observe,  without  wishing 
himself  one  of  that  happy  fraternity,  to  which  the 
female  world  seemed  to  have  devoted  their  charms 
and  their  kindness.  The  love  of  knowledge,  which 
was  still  his  predominant  inclination,  was  gratified 
by  the  recital  of  adventures,  and  accounts  of  foreign 
countries ;  and  therefore  he  concluded  that  there 
was  no  way  of  life,  in  which  all  his  views  could  so 
completely  concentre  as  in  that  of  a  soldier.  In  the 
art  of  war  he  thought  it  not  difiicult  to  excel,  hav- 
ing observed  his  new  friends  not  very  much  versed 
in  the  principles  of  tactics  or  fortification  ;  he  there- 
fore studied  all  the  military  writers  both  ancient 
and  modern,  and,  in  a  short  time,  could  tell  how  to 
have  gained  every  remarkable  battle  that  has  been 
lost  from  the  beginning  of  the  world.  He  often 
showed  at  table  how  Alexander  should  have  been 
checked  in  his  conquests,  what  was  the  fatal  error 
at  Pharsalia,  how  Charles  of  Sweden  might  have 
escaped  his  ruin  at  Pultowa,  and  Marlborough  might 
have  been  made  to  repent  his  temerity  at  Blenheim. 
He  entrenched  armies  upon  paper  so  that  no  supe- 

NO.    19.  KAMBLER.  179 

riority  of  numbers  could  force  them,  and  modelled  in 
clay  many  impregnable  fortresses,  on  which  all  the 
present  arts  of  attack  would  be  exhausted  without 

Polyphilus,  in  a  short  time,  obtained  a  commis- 
sion ;  but  before  he  could  rub  off  the  solemnity  of  a 
scholar,  and  gain  the  true  air  of  military  vivacity,  a 
war  was  declared,  and  forces  sent  to  the  continent. 
Here  Polyphilus  unhappily  found  that  study  alone 
would  not  make  a  soldier ;  feu*  being  much  accus- 
tomed to  think,  he  let  the  sense  of  danger  sink  in  to 
his  mind,  and  felt,  at  the  approach  of  any  action, 
that  terror  which  a  sentence  of  death  would  have 
brought  upon  him.  He  saw  that  instead  of  con- 
quering their  fears,  the  endeavour  of  his  gay  friends 
was  only  to  escape  them ;  but  his  philosophy  chain- 
ed his  mind  to  its  object,  and  rather  loaded, him 
with  shackles  than  furnished  him  with  arms.  He, 
however,  suppressed  his  misery  in  silence,  and 
passed  through  the  campaign  with  honour,  but 
found  himself  utterly  unable  to  support  another. 

He  then  had  recourse  again  to  his  books,  and 
continued  to  range  from  one  study  to  another.  As 
I  usually  visit  him  once  a  month,  and  am  admitted 
to  him  without  previous  notice,  I  have  found  him, 
within  this  last  half  year,  deciphering  the  Chinese 
language,  making  a  farce,  collecting  a  vocabulary 
of  the  obsolete  terms  of  the  English  law,  writing  an 
inquiry  concerning  the  ancient  Corinthian  brass, 
and  forming  a  new  scheme  of  the  variations  of  the 

Thus  is  this  powerful  genius,  which  might  have 
extended  the  sphere  of  any  science,  or  benefited 
the  v/orld  in  any  profession,  dissipated  in  a  bound- 
less variety,  without  profit  to  others  or  himself.  He 
makes  sudden  irruptions  int(j  the  regions  of  know- 

180  RAMBLER.  NO.    19. 

ledge,  and  sees  all  obstacles  give  way  before  him ; 
but  he  never  stays  long  enough  to  complete  his 
conquest,  to  establish  laws,  or  bring  away  the 

Such  is  often  the  folly  of  men,  whom  nature  has 
enabled  to  obtain  skill  and  knowledge,  on  terms  so 
easy,  that  they  have  no  sense  of  the  value  of  the 
acquisition  ;  they  are  qualified  to  make  such  speedy 
progress  in  learning,  that  they  think  themselves  at 
liberty  to  loiter  in  the  way,  and,  by  turning  aside 
after  every  new  object,  lose  the  race,  like  Atalanta, 
to  slower  competitors,  who  press  diligently  forward, 
and  whose  force  is  directed  to  a  single  point. 

I  have  often  thought  those  happy  that  have  been 
fixed,  from  the  first  dawn  of  thought,  in  a  determina- 
tion to  some  state  of  life,  by  the  choice  of  one,  whose 
authority  may  preclude  caprice,  and  whose  influence 
may  prejudice  them  in  favour  of  his  opinion.  The 
general  precept  of  consulting  the  genius  is  of  little 
use,  unless  we  are  told  how  the  genius  can  be  known. 
If  it  is  to  be  discovered  only  by  experiment,  life  will 
be  lost  before  the  resolution  can  be  fixed ;  if  any 
other  indications  are  to  be  found,  they  may,  perhaps, 
be  very  early  discerned.  At  least,  if  to  miscarry  in 
an  attempt  be  a  proof  of  having  mistaken  the  direc- 
tion of  the  genius,  men  appear  not  less  frequently 
deceived  with  regard  to  themselves  than  to  others ; 
and  therefore,  no  one  has  much  reason  to  complain 
that  his  life  was  planned  out  by  his  friends,  or  to  be 
confident  that  he  should  have  had  either  more  hon- 
our or  happiness,  by  being  abandoned  to  the  chance 
of  his  own  fancy. 

It  was  said  of  the  learned  Bishop  Sanderson,  that, 
when  he  was  preparing  his  lectures,  he  hesitated  so 
much,  and  rejected  so  often,  that,  at  the  time  of 
reading,  he  was  often  forced  to  produce,  not  what 

NO.    20.  RAMBLER.  181 

was  best,  but  what  happened  to  be  at  hand.  This 
will  be  the  state  of  every  man,  who,  in  the  choice 
of  his  employment,  balances  all  the  arguments  on 
every  side ;  the  complication  is  so  intricate,  the  mo- 
tives and  objections  so  numerous,  there  is  so  much 
play  for  the  imagination,  and  so  much  remains  in 
the  power  of  others,  that  reason  is  forced  at  last  to  rest 
in  neutrality,  the  decision  devolves  into  the  hands 
of  chance,  and  after  a  great  part  of  life  spent  in 
inquiries  which  can  never  be  resolved,  the  rest  must 
often  pass  in  repenting  the  unnecessary  delay,  and 
can  be  useful  to  few  other  purposes  than  to  warn 
others  against  the  same  folly,  and  to  show,  that  of 
two  states  of  life  equally  consistent  with  religion  and 
virtue,  he  who  chooses  earliest  chooses  best. 

No.  20.     SATURDAY,  MAY  26,  1750. 

Ad populum phaleras.     Ego  te  intus,  et  in  cute  novu 

PEES.  SAT.  iii.  30. 

Such  pageantry  be  to  the  people  shown ; 

There  boast  thy  horse's  trappings  and  thy  own ; 

I  know  thee  to  thy  bottom;  from  within 

Thy  shallow  centre,  to  thy  utmost  skin.  dryden. 

Among  the  numerous  stratagems,  by  which  pride 
endeavours  to  recommend  folly  to  regard,  there  is 
scarcely  one  that  meets  with  less  success  than  affec- 
tation, or  a  perpetual  disguise  of  the  real  character, 
by  fictitious  appearances ;  whether  it  be,  that  every 
man  hates  falsehood,  from  the  natural  congruity  of 

182  RAMBLER.  NO.   20. 

truth  to  his  faculties  of  reason,  or  that  every  man  is 
jealous  of  the  honour  of  his  understanding,  and  thinks 
his  discernment  consequentially  called  in  question, 
whenever  any  thing  is  exhibited  under  a  borrowed 

This  aversion  from  all  kinds  of  disguise,  whatever 
be  its  cause,  is  universally  diffused,  and  incessantly 
in  action  ;  nor  is  it  necessary,  that  to  exasperate  de- 
testation, or  excite  contempt,  any  interest  should  be 
invaded,  or  any  competition  attempted ;  it  is  ^  suffi- 
cient that  there  is  an  intention  to  deceive,  an  inten- 
tion which  every  heart  swells  to  oppose,  and  every 
tongue  is  busy  to  detect. 

This  reflection  was  awakened  in  my  mind  by  a 
very  common  practice  among  my  correspondents, 
of  writing  under  characters  which  they  cannot  sup- 
port, which  are  of  no  use  to  the  explanation  or  en- 
forcement of  that  which  they  describe  or  recommend  ; 
and  which,  therefore,  since  they  assume  them  only 
for  the  sake  of  displaying  their  abilities,  I  will  ad- 
vise them  for  the  future  to  forbear,  as  laborious  with- 
out advantage. 

It  is  almost  a  general  ambition  of  those  who 
favour  me  with  their  advice  for  the  regulation  of 
my  conduct,  or  their  contribution  for  the  assistance 
of  my  understanding,  to  affect  the  style  and  the 
names  of  ladies.  And  I  cannot  always  withhold  some 
expression  of  anger,  Uke  Sir  Hugh  in  the  comedy, 
when  I  happen  to  find  that  a  woman  has  a  beard. 
I  must,  therefore,  warn  the  gentle  Phylhs  that  she 
send  me  no  more  letters  from  the  Horse  Guards  ; 
and  require  of  Belinda,  that  she  be  content  to  resign 
her  pretensions  to  female  elegance,  till  she  has  lived 
three  weeks  without  hearing  the  politics  of  Batson  s 
coffee-house.  I  must  indulge  myself  in  the  liberty 
of  observation,   that   there   were  some  allusions  in 

NO.    20.  RAMBLER.  183 

Chloris's  production,  sufficient  to  show  that  Bracton 
and  Plowden  are  her  favourite  authors ;  and  that 
Euphelia  has  not  been  long  enough  at  home  to  wear 
out  all  the  traces  of  the  phraseology,  which  she 
learned  in  the  expedition  to  Carthagena. 

Among  all  my  female  friends,  there  was  none 
who  gave  me  more  trouble  to  decipher  her  true 
character,  than  Penthesilea,  whose  letter  lay  upon 
my  desk  three  days  before  I  could  fix  upon  the  real 
writer.  There  was  a  confusion  of  images,  and 
medley  of  barbarity,  which  held  me  long  in  sus- 
pense ;  till  by  perseverance  I  disentangled  the  per- 
plexity, and  found,  that  Penthesilea  is  the  son  of  a 
wealthy  stock-jobber,  who  spends  his  morning  under 
his  father's  eye,  in  Change-alley,  dines  at  a  tavern 
in  Covent-garden,  passes  his  evening  in  the  play- 
house, and  part  of  the  night  at  a  gaming-table, 
and  having  learned  the  dialects  of  these  various 
regions,  has  mingled  them  all  in  a  studied  com- 

When  Lee  was  once  told  by  a  critic,  that  it  was 
very  easy  to  write  like  a  madman  ;  he  answered, 
that  it  was  difficult  to  write  like  a  madman,  but  easy 
enough  to  write  like  a  fool ;  and  I  hope  to  be  ex- 
cused by  my  kind  contributors,  if,  in  imitation  of  this 
great  author,  I  presume  to  remind  them,  that  it  is 
much  easier  not  to  write  like  a  man,  than  to  write 
like  a  w^oman. 

I  have,  indeed,  some  ingenious  wellwishers,  who, 
without  departing  from  their  sex,  have  found  very 
wonderful  appellations.  A  very  smart  letter  has 
been  sent  me  from  a  puny  ensign,  signed  Ajax 
Telamonius ;  another  in  recommendation  of  a  new 
treatise  upon  cards,  from  a  gamester  who  calls 
himself  Sesostris  ;  and  another  upon  the  improve- 
ments of  the  fishery,  from  Dioclesian ;  but  as  these 

184  RAMBLER.  NO.   20. 

seem  only  to  have  picked  up  their  appellations  by 
chance,  without  endeavouring  at  any  particular  im- 
posture, their  improprieties  are  rather  instances  of 
blunder  than  of  affectation,  and  are,  therefore,  not 
equally  fitted  to  inflame  the  hostile  passions  ;  for  it 
is  not  folly  but  pride,  not  error  but  deceit,  which 
the  world  means  to  persecute,  when  it  raises  the  full 
cry  of  nature  to  hunt  down  affectation. 

The  hatred,  which  dissimulation  always  draws 
upon  itself,  is  so  great,  that  if  I  did  not  know  how 
much  cunning  differs  from  wisdom,  I  should  wonder 
that  any  men  have  so  little  knowledge  of  their  own 
interest,  as  to  aspire  to  wear  a  mask  for  life  ;  to  try* 
to  impose  upon  the  world  a  character,  to  which  they 
feel  themselves  void  of  any  just  claim  ;  and  to  hazard 
their  quiet,  their  fame,  and  even  their  profit,  by 
exposing  themselves  to  the  danger  of  that  reproach, 
malevolence,  and  neglect,  which  such  a  discovery 
as  they  have  always  to  fear  will  certainly  bring 
upon  them. 

It  might  be  imagined,  that  the  pleasure  of  reputa- 
tion should  consist  in  the  satisfaction  of  having  our 
opinion  of  our  own  merit  confirmed  by  the  suffrage 
of  the  public ;  and  that,  to  be  extolled  for  a  quality, 
which  a  man  knows  himself  to  want,  should  give 
him  no  other  happiness  than  to  be  mistaken  for  the 
owner  of  an  estate,  over  which  he  chances  to  be 
travelling.  But  he,  who  subsists  upon  affectation, 
knows  nothing  of  this  delicacy  ;  like  a  desperate  ad- 
venturer in  commerce,  he  takes  up  reputation  upon 
trust,  mortgages  possessions  which  he  never  had, 
and  enjoys,  to  the  fatal  hour  of  bankruptcy,  though 
with  a  thousand  terrors  and  anxieties,  the  unneces- 
sary splendour  of  borrowed  riches. 

Affectation  is  to  be  always  distinguished  from 
hypocrisy,  as  being  the  art  of  counterfeiting  those 

NO.    20.  RAMBLKR.  185 

qualities  which  we  might,  with  innocence  and  safety, 
be  known  to  want.  Thus  the  man,  who,  to  carry 
on  any  fraud,  or  to  conceal  any  crime,  pretends  to 
rigours  of  devotion  and  exactness  of  life,  is  guilty  of 
hypocrisy ;  and  his  guilt  is  greater,  as  the  end,  for 
which  he  puts  on  the  false  appearance,  is  more  per- 
nicious. But  he  that,  with  an  awkward  address, 
and  unpleasing  countenance,  boasts  of  the  conquests 
made  by  him  among  the  ladies,  and  counts  over  the 
thousands  which  he  might  have  possessed  if  he 
would  have  submitted  to  the  yoke  of  matrimony,  is 
chargeable  only  with  affectation.  Hypocrisy  is  the 
necessary  burden  of  villany,  affectation  part  of  the 
chosen  trappings  of  folly  ;  the  one  completes  a  villain, 
the  other  only  finishes  a  fop.  Contempt  is  the  prop- 
er punishment  of  affectation,  and  detestation  the  just 
consequence  of  hypocrisy. 

With  the  hypocrite  it  is  not  at  present  my  inten- 
tion to  expostulate,  though  even  he  might  be  taught 
the  excellency  of  virtue,  by  the  necessity  of  seeming 
to  be  virtuous  ;  but  the  man  of  affectation  may,  per- 
haps, be  reclaimed,  by  finding  how  little  he  is  likely 
to  gain  by  perpetual  constraint  and  incessant  vigi- 
lance, and  how  much  more  securely  he  might  make 
his  way  to  esteem,  by  cultivating  real,  than  display- 
ing counterfeiting  qualities. 

Every  thing  future  is  to  be  estimated  by  a  wise 
man,  in  proportion  to  the  probability  of  attaining  it, 
and  its  value  when  attained ;  and  neither  of  these 
considerations  will  much  contribute  to  the  encour- 
agement of  affectation.  For,  if  the  pinnacles  of 
fame  be,  at  best,  slippery,  how  unsteady  must  his 
footing  be  who  stands  upon  pinnacles  without  foun- 
dation !  If  praise  be  made,  by  the  inconstancy  and 
maliciousness  of  those  who  must  confer  it,  a  blessing 
which  no  man  can  promise  himself  from  the  most 

186  RAMBLER.  NO.    20. 

conspicuous  merit  and  vigorous  industry,  how  faint 
must  be  the  hope  of  gaining  it,  when  the  uncertainty 
is  multiplied  by  the  weakness  of  the  pretensions ! 
He  that  pursues  fame  with  just  claims,  trusts  his 
happiness  to  the  winds;  but  he  that  endeavours 
after  it  by  false  merit,  has  to  fear,  not  only  the 
violence  of  the  storm,  but  the  leaks  of  his  vessel. 
Though  he  should  happen  to  keep  above  water  for 
a  time,  by  the  help  of  a  soft  breeze,  and  a  calm  sea, 
at  the  first  gust  he  must  inevitably  founder,  with 
this  melancholy  reflection,  that,  if  he  would  have 
been  content  with  his  natural  station^  he  might  have 
escaped  his  calamity.  Affectation  may  possibly 
succeed  for  a  time,  and  a  man  may,  by  great  at- 
tention, persuade  others,  that  he  really  has  the 
qualities  which  he  presumes  to  boast ;  but  the  hour 
will  come  when  he  should  exert  them,  and  then, 
whatever  he  enjoyed  in  praise,  he  must  suffer  in 

Applause  and  admiration  are  by  no  means  to  be 
counted  among  the  necessaries  of  life,  and,  therefore, 
any  indirect  arts  to  obtain  them  have  very  little 
claim  to  pardon  or  compassion.  There  is  scarcely 
any  man  without  some  valuable  or  improvable  qual- 
ities, by  which  he  might  always  secure  himself  from 
contempt.  And,  perhaps,  exemption  from  ignominy 
is  the  most  elegible  reputation,  as  freedom  from 
pain  is,  among  some  philosophers,  the  definition  of 

If  we,  therefore,  compare  the  value  of  the  praise 
obtained  by  fictitious  excellence,  even  while  the 
cheat  is  yet  undiscovered,  with  that  kindness  which 
every  man  may  suit  by  his  virtue,  and  that  esteem 
to  which  most  men  may  rise  by  common  understand- 
ing steadily  and  honestly  applied,  we  shall  find  that 
when  from  the  adscititious  happiness  all  the  deduc- 

NO.    21.  RAMBLER.  187 

tions  are  made  by  fear  and  casualty,  there  will  re- 
main nothing  equiponderant  to  the  security  of  truth. 
The  state  of  the  possessor  of  humble  virtues,  to  the 
affector  of  great  excellences,  is  that  of  a  small 
cottage  of  stone,  to  the  palace  raised  with  ice  by 
the  empress  of  Russia ;  it  was  for  a  time  splendid 
and  luminous,  but  the  first  sunshine  melted  it  to 

No.  21.     TUESDAY,  MAY  29,  1750. 

Terra  salutares  herbas,  eademque  nocentes, 
Nutrit ;  et  urticce  proxima  scepe  rosa  est. 

OVID.   KEM.    AM.    45. 

Our  bane  and  physic  the  same  earth  bestows, 
And  near  the  noisome  nettle  blooms  the  rose. 

Every  man  is  prompted  by  the  love  of  himself 
to  imagine,  that  he  possesses  some  qualities,  supe- 
rior, either  in  kind  or  in  degree,  to  those  which  he 
sees  allotted  to  the  rest  of  the  world  ;  and,  whatever 
apparent  disadvantages  he  may  suffer  in  the  com- 
parison with  others,  he  has  some  invisible  distinc- 
tions, some  latent  reserve  of  excellence,  which  he 
throws  into  the  balance,  and  by  which  he  generally 
fancies  that  it  is  turned  in  his  favour. 

The  studious  and  speculative  })art  of  mankind  al- 
ways seem  to  consider  their  fraternity  as  placed  in 
a  state  of  opposition  to  those  who  are  engaged  in 
the  tumult  of  public  business ;  and  have  pleased 
themselves,  from  age  to  age,  with  celebrating  the 

188  RAMBLER.  t  NO.    21. 

felicity  of  their  own  condition,  and  with  recounting 
the  perplexity  of  politics,  the  dangers  of  greatness, 
the  anxieties  of  ambition,  and  the  miseries  of  riches. 

Among  the  numerous  topics  of  declamation,  that 
their  industry  has  discovered  on  this  subject,  there 
is  none  which  they  press  with  greater  efforts,  or  on 
which  they  have  more  copiously  laid  out  their  reason 
and  their  imagination,  than  the  instability  of  high 
stations,  and  the  uncertainty  with  which  the  profits 
and  honours  are  possessed  that  must  be  acquired 
with  so  much  hazard,  vigilance,  and  labour. 

This  they  appear  to  consider  as  an  irrefragable 
argument  against  the  choice  of  the  statesman  and 
the  warrior;  and  swell  with  confidence  of  victory, 
thus  furnished  by  the  muses  with  the  arms  which 
never  can  be  blunted,  and  which  no  art  or  strength 
of  their  adversaries  can  elude  or  resist. 

It  was  well  known  by  experience  to  the  nations 
which  employed  elephants  in  war,  that  though  by 
the  terror  of  their  bulk,  and  the  violence  of  their 
impression,  they  often  threw  the  enemy  into  dis- 
order, yet  there  was  always  danger  in  the  use  of 
them,  very  nearly  equivalent  to  the  advantage ;  for 
if  their  first  charge  could  be  supported,  they  were 
easily  driven  back  upon  their  confederates;  they 
then  broke  through  the  troops  behind  them,  and 
made  no  less  havoc  in  the  precipitation  of  their 
retreat,  than  in  the  fury  of  their  onset. 

1  know  not  whether  those,  who  have  so  vehe- 
mently urged  the  inconveniencies  and  danger  of  an 
active  life,  have  not  made  use  of  arguments  that 
may  be  retorted  with  equal  force  upon  themselves ; 
and  whether  the  happiness  of  a  candidate  for  literary 
fame  be  not  subject  to  the  same  uncertainty  with 
that  of  him  who  governs  provinces,  commands 
armies,  presides  in  the  senate,  or  dictates  in  the 

NO.    21.  RAMBLER.  189 

That  eminence  of  learning  is  not  to  be  gained  with- 
out labour,  at  least  equal  to  that  which  any  other 
kind  of  greatness  can  require,  will  be  allowed  by 
those  who  wish  to  elevate  the  character  of  a  scholar  ; 
since  they  cannot  but  know,  that  every  human  ac- 
quisition is  valuable  in  proportion  to  the  difficulty 
employed  in  its  attainment.  And  that  those,  who 
have  gained  the  esteem  and  veneration  of  the  world, 
by  their  knowledge  or  their  genius,  are  by  no  means 
exempt  from  the  solicitude  which  any  other  kind 
of  dignity  produces,  may  be  conjectured  from  the 
innumerable  artifices  which  they  make  use  of  to  de- 
grade a  superior,  to  repress  a  rival,  or  obstruct  a 
follower ;  artifices  so  gross  and  mean,  as  to  prove 
evidently  how  much  a  man  may  excel  in  learning, 
without  being  either  more  wise  or  more  virtuous 
than  those  whose  ignorance  he  pities  or  despises. 

Nothing  therefore  remains,  by  which  the  student 
can  gratify  his  desire  of  appearing  to  have  built  his 
happiness  on  a  more  firm  basis  than  his  antagonist, 
except  the  certainty  with  which  his  honours  are  en- 
joyed. The  garlands  gained  by  the  heroes  of  litera- 
ture must  be  gathered  from  summits  equally  difficult 
to  climb  with  those  that  bear  the  civic  or  triumphal 
wreaths  ;  they  must  be  worn  with  equal  envy,  and 
guarded  with  equal  care  from  those  hands  that  are 
always  employed  in  efforts  to  tear  them  away ;  the 
only  remaining  hope  is,  that  their  verdure  is  more 
lasting,  and  that  they  are  less  likely  to  fade  by  time, 
or  less  obnoxious  to  the  blasts  of  accident. 

Even  this  hope  will  receive  very  little  encourage- 
ment from  the  examination  of  the  history  of  learn- 
ing, or  observation  of  the  fate  of  scholars  in  the 
present  age.  If  we  look  back  into  past  times,  we 
find  innumerable  names  of  authors  once  in  high 
reputation,  read  perhaps  by  the  beautiful,  quoted 

190  RAMBLER.  NO.    21, 

by  the  witty,  and  commented  on  by  the  grave  ;  but 
of  whom  we  now  know  only  that  they  once  existed. 
If  we»  consider  the  distribution  of  hterary  fame  in 
our  own  time,  we  shall  find  it  a  possession  of  very 
•uncertain  tenure;  sometimes  bestowed  by  a  sudden 
caprice  of  the  public,  and  again  transferred  to  a  new 
favourite,  for  no  other  reason  than  that  he  is  new ; 
sometimes  refused  to  long  labour  and  eminent  de- 
sert, and  sometimes  granted  to  very  slight  preten- 
sions ;  lost  sometimes  by  security  and  negligence, 
and  sometimes  by  too  diligent  endeavours  to  re- 
tain it. 

A  successful  author  is  equally  in  danger  of  the 
diminution  of  his  fame,  whether  he  continues  or 
ceases  to  write.  The  regard  of  the  public  is  not  to 
be  kept  but  by  tribute,  and  the  remembrance  of  past 
service  will  quickly  languish  unless  successive  per- 
formances frequently  revive  it.  Yet  in  every  new 
attempt  there  is  new  hazard,  and  there  are  few  who 
do  not,  at  some  unlucky  time,  injure  their  own  char- 
acters by  attempting  to  enlarge  them. 

There  are  many  possible  causes  of  that  inequality 
which  we  may  so  frequently  observe  in  the  perform- 
ances of  the  same  man,  from  the  influence  of  which 
no  ability  or  industry  is  sufficiently  secured,  and 
which  have  so  often  sullied  the  splendour  of  genius, 
that  the  wit,  as  w^ell  as  the  conqueror,  may  be  prop- 
erly cautioned  not  to  indulge  his  pride  with  too 
early  triumphs,  but  to  defer  to  the  end  of  life  his 
estimate  of  happiness. 

—  Ultima  semper 
Exspectanda  dies  liomini :  dicique  beaius 
Ante  obitum  nemo  supremaque  funera  debet. 

OVID,  MET.  iii.  135. 

But  no  frail  man,  however  great  or  high, 

Can  be  concluded  blest  before  he  die.  addisojj. 

NO.    21.  RAMBLER.  191 

Among  the  motives  that  urge  an  author  to  under- 
takings by  which  his  reputation  is  impaired,  one  of 
the  most  frequent  must  be  mentioned  with  tender- 
ness, because  it  is  not  to  be  counted  among  his  fol- 
lies, but  his*  miseries.  It  very  often  happens  that 
the  works  of  learning  or  of  wit  are  performed  at 
the  direction  of  those  by  whom  they  are  to  be  re- 
warded ;  the  writer  has  not  always  the  choice  of  his 
subject,  but  is  compelled  to  accept  any  task  which 
is  thrown  before  him,  without  much  consideration  of 
his  own  convenience,  and  without  time  to  prepare 
himself  by  previous  studies. 

Miscarriages  of  this  kind  are  likewise  frequently 
the  consequence  of  that  acquaintance  with  the  great, 
which  is  generally  considered  as  one  of  the  chief 
privileges  of  literature  and  genius.  A  man  who  has 
once  learned  to  think  himself  exalted  by  familiarity 
with  those  whom  nothing  but  their  birth,  or  their 
fortunes,  or  such  stations  as  are  seldom  gained  by 
moral  excellence,  set  above  him,  will  not  be  long 
without  submitting  his  understanding  to  their  con- 
duct ;  he  will  suffer  them  to  prescribe  the  course  of 
his  studies,  and  employ  him  for  their  own  purposes 
either  of  diversion  or  interest.  His  desire  of  pleas- 
ing those  whose  favour  he  has  weakly  made  neces- 
sary to  himself,  will  not  suffet'  him  always  to  consider 
how  little  he  is  qualified  for  the  work  imposed. 
Either  his  vanity  will  tempt  him  to  conceal  his  defi- 
ciencies, or  that  cowardice,  which  always  encroaches 
fast  upon  such  as  spend  their  lives  in  the  company 
of  persons  higher  than  themselves,  will  not  leave  him 
resolution  to  assert  the  liberty  of  choice. 

But,  though  we  suppose  that  a  man  by  his  fortune 
can  avoid  the  necessity  of  dependence,  and  by  his 
spirit  can  repel  the  usurpations  of  patronage,  yet  he 
may  easily,  by  writing  long,   hap[)cii   to   write  ill. 

192  RAMBLER.  NO.   21. 

There  is  a  general  succession  of  effects,  in  which 
contraries  are  produced  by  periodical  vicissitudes ; 
labour  and  care  are  rewarded  with  success,  success 
produces  confidence,  confidence  relaxes  industry,  and 
negligence  ruins  that  reputation  which  accuracy  had 

He  that  happens  not  to  be  lulled  by  praise  into 
supineness,  may  be  animated  by  it  to  undertakings 
above  his  strength,  or  incited  to  fancy  himself  alike 
qualified  for  every  kind  of  composition,  and  able  to 
comply  with  the  public  taste  through  all  its  varia- 
tions. By  some  opinion  like  this,  many  men  have 
been  engaged  at  an  advanced  age,  in  attempts  which 
they  had  not  time  to  complete,  and  after  a  few  weak 
efforts  sunk  into  the  grave  with  vexation  to  see  the 
rising  generation  gain  ground  upon  them.  From 
these  failures  the  highest  genius  is  not  exempt;  that 
judgment  which  appears  so  penetrating,  when  it  is 
employed  upon  the  works  of  others,  very  often  fails 
where  interest  or  passion  can  exert  their  power. 
We  are  blinded  in  examining  our  own  labours  by 
innumerable  prejudices.  Our  juvenile  compositions 
please  us,  because  they  bring  to  our  minds  the 
remembrance  of  youth  ;  our  latter  performances  we 
are  ready  to  esteem,  because  we  are  unwilling  to 
think  that  we  have  made  no  improvement ;  what 
flows  easily  from  the  pen  charms  us,  because  we 
read  with  pleasure  that  which  flatters  our  opinion 
of  our  own  powers ;  what  was  composed  with  great 
struggles  of  the  mind  we  do  not  easily  reject,  because 
we  cannot  bear  that  so  much  labour  should  be  fruit- 
less. But  the  reader  has  none  of  these  preposses- 
sions, and  wonders  that  the  author  is  so  unlike 
himself,  without  considering  that  the  same  soil  will, 
vfiih  different  culture,  afford  different  products. 

NO.    22.  RAMBLER.  .  193 

No.  22.     SATURDAY,  JUNE  2,  1750. 

— £^70  7iec  stndlum  sine  divite  vend, 
Nee  rude  quid prtjsit  video  ingenium,  alterius  sic 
Altera  poscit  opem  res,  et  conjurat  amice. 

HOR.   ARS  POET.    409. 

Without  a  genius  learning  soars  in  vain ; 
And  without  learning  genius  sinks  again; 
Their  force  united  crowns  the  sprightly  reign. 


Wit  and  Learning  were  the  children  of  Apollo, 
by  ditferent  mothers ;  ^Yit  was  the  offspring  of  Eu- 
phrosyne,  and  resembled  her  in  cheerfulness  and 
vivacity  ;  Learning  was  born  of  Sophia,  and  retained 
her  seriousness  and  caution.  As  their  mothers 
were  rivals,  they  were  bred  up  by  them  from  their 
birth  in  habitual  opposition,  and  all  means  were  so 
incessantly  employed  to  impress  upon  them  a  hatred 
and  contempt  of  each  other,  that  though  Apollo,  who 
foresaw  the  ill  effects  of  their  discord,  endeavoured 
to  soften  them,  by  dividing  his  regard  equally  be- 
tween them,  yet  his  impartiality  and  kindness  were 
without  effect ;  the  maternal  animosity  was  deeply 
rooted,  having  been  intermingled  with  their  first 
ideas,  and  was  confirmed  every  hour,  as  fresh  op- 
portunities occurred  of  exerting  it.  No  so6ner  were 
they  of  age  to  be  received  into  the  apartments  of  the 
other  celestials,  than  wit  began  to  entertain  Venus 
at  her  toilet,  by  aping  the  solemnity  of  Learning,  and 
Learning  to  divert  Minerva  at  her  loom,  by  exposing 
the  blunders  and  ignorance  of  Wit. 
•      VOL.   XVL  13 

194  RAMBLER.  NO.    22. 

Thus  thej  grew  up,  with  malice  perpetually  in- 
creasing, by  the  encouragement  which  each  received 
from  those  whom  their  mother  had  persuaded  to 
patronize  and  support  them ;  and  longed  to  be  ad- 
mitted to  the  table  of  Jupiter,  not  so  much  for  the 
hope  of  gaining  honour,  as  of  excluding  a  rival  from 
all  pretensions  to  regard,  and  of  putting  an  everlast- 
ing stop  to  the  progress  of  that  influence  which  either 
believed  the  other  to  have  obtained  by  mean  arts 
and  false  appearances. 

At  last  the  day  came,  when  they  were  both,  with 
the  usual  solemnities,  received  into  the  class  of  supe- 
rior deities,  and  allowed  to  take  nectar  from  the 
hand  of  Hebe.  But  from  that  hour  Concord  lost 
her  authority  at  the  table  of  Jupiter.  The  rivals, 
animated  by  their  new  dignity,  and  incited  by  the 
alternate  applauses  of  the  associate  powers,  har- 
assed each  other  by  incessant  contests,  with  such  a 
regular  vicissitude  of  victory,  that  neither  was  de- 

It  was  observable,  that,  at  the  beginning  of  every 
debate,  the  advantage  was  on  the  side  of  Wit ;  and 
that,  at  the  first  sallies,  the  whole  assembly  sparkled, 
according  to  Homer's  expression,  with  unextinguish- 
able  merriment.  But  Learning  would  reserve  her 
strength  till  the  burst  of  applause  was  over,  and  the 
languor,  with  which  the  violence  of  joy  is  always 
succeeded,  began  to  promise  more  calm  and  patient 
attention.  She  then  attempted  her  defence,  and,  by 
comparing  one  part  of  her  antagonist's  objections 
with  another,  commonly  made  him  confute  himself; 
or  by  showing  how  small  a  part  of  the  question  he 
had  taken  into  his  view,  proved  that  his  opinion 
could  have  no  weight.  The  audience  began  gradu- 
ally to  lay  aside  their  prepossessions,  and  rose,  at 
last,  with  great  veneration  for  Learning,  but  with 
greater  kindness  for  Wit.  t 

NO.   22.  RAMBLER.  195 

Their  conduct  was,  whenever  they  desired  to  re- 
commend themselves  to  distinction,  entirely  opposite. 
Wit  was  daring  and  adventurous,  Learning  cautious 
and  deliberate.  Wit  thought  nothing  reproachful 
but  dulness ;  Learning  was  afraid  of  no  imputation 
but  that  of  error.  Wit  answered  before  he  under- 
stood, lest  his  quickness  of  apprehension  should  be 
questioned ;  Learning  paused,  where  there  was  no 
difficulty,  lest  any  insidious  sophism  should  lie  un- 
discovered. Wit  perplexed  every  debate  by  rapid- 
ity and  confusion ;  Learning  tired  the  hearers  with 
endless  distinctions,  and  prolonged  the  dispute  with- 
out advantage,  by  proving  that  which  never  was 
denied.  Wit,  in  hopes  of  shining,  would  venture  to 
produce  what  he  had  not  considered,  and  often  suc- 
ceeded beyond  his  own  expectation,  by  following 
the  train  of  a  lucky  thought ;  Learning  would  reject 
every  new  notion,  for  fear  of  being  entangled  in  con- 
sequences which  she  could  not  foresee,  and  was  often 
hindered,  by  her  caution,  from  pressing  her  advan- 
tages, and  subduing  her  opponent. 

Both  had  prejudices,  which  in  some  degree  hin- 
dered their  progress  towards  perfection,  and  left 
them  open  to  attacks.  Novelty  was  the  darling  of 
Wit,  and  antiquity  of  Learning.  To  Wit,  all  that 
was  new  was  specious ;  to  Learning,  whatever  was 
ancient  was  venerable.  Wit,  however,  seldom  failed 
to  divert  those  whom  he  could  not  convince,  and  to 
convince  was  not  often  his  ambition ;  Learning  al- 
ways supported  her  opinion  with  so  many  collateral 
truths,  that,  when  the  cause  was  decided  against 
her,  her  arguments  were  remembered  with  ad- 

Nothing  was  more  common,  on  either  side,  than 
to  quit  their  proper  characters,  and  to  hope  for  a 
complete  conquest  by  the  use  of  the  weapons  which 

196  BAMBLER.  NO.    22. 

had  been  employed  against  them.  Wit  would  some- 
times labour  a  syllogism,  and  Learning  distort  her 
features  with  a  jest ;  but  they  always  suffered  by 
the  experiment,  and  betrayed  themselves  to  confu- 
tation or  contempt.  The  seriousness  of  Wit  was 
without  dignity,  and  the  merriment  of  Learning  with- 
out vivacity. 

Their  contests  by  long  continuance,  grew  at  last 
important,  and  the  divinities  broke  into  parties.  Wit 
was  taken  into  j)rotection  of  the  laughter-loving  Ve- 
nus, had  a  retinue  allowed  him  of  Smiles  and  Jests, 
and  was  often  permitted  to  dance  among  the  Graces. 
Learning  still  continued  the  favourite  of  Minerva, 
and  seldom  went  out  of  her  palace,  without  a  train 
of  the  severer  virtues,  Chastity,  Temperance,  Forti- 
tude, and  Labour.  Wit,  cohabiting  with  Malice, 
had  a  son  named  Satire,  who  followed  him,  carrying 
a  quiver  filled  with  poisoned  arrows,  which,  where 
they  once  drew  blood,  could  by  no  skill  ever  be 
extracted.  These  arrows  he  frequently  sliot  at 
Learning,  when  she  was  most  earnestly  or  usefully 
employed,  engaged  in  abstruse  inquiries,  or  giving 
instructions  to  her  followers.  Minerva,  therefore, 
deputed  Criticism  to  her  aid,  who  generally  broke 
the  point  of  Satire's  arrows,  turned  them  aside,  or 
retorted  them  on  himself. 

Jupiter  was  at  last  angry  that  the  peace  of  the 
heavenly  regions  should  be  in  perpetual  danger  of 
violation,  and  resolved  to  dismiss  these  troublesome 
antagonists  to  the  lower  world.  Hither,  therefore, 
they  came,  and  carried  on  their  ancient  quarrel 
among  mortals,  nor  was  either  long  without  zealous 
votaries.  Wit,  by  his  gayety,  captivated  the  young; 
and  Learning,  by  her  authority,  influenced  the  old. 
Their  power  quickly  appeared  by  very  eminent  ef- 
fects, theatres  were  built  for  the  reception  of  Wit, 

NO.    22.  RAMBLER.  197 

and  colleges  endowed  for  the  residence  of  Learning. 
Each  party  endeavoured  to  outvie  the  other  in  cost 
and  magniticence,  and  to  propagate  an  opinion,  that 
it  was  necessary,  from  the  first  entrance  into  life,  to 
enlist  in  one  of  the  factions ;  and  that  none  could 
hope  for  the  regard  of  either  divinity,  who  had  once 
entered  the  temple  of  the  rival  power. 

There  were,  indeed,  a  class  of  mortals,  by  whom 
Wit  and  Learning  were  equally  disregarded ;  these 
were  the  devotees  of  Plutus,  the'god  of  riches; 
among  these  it  seldom  happened  that  the  gayety  of 
Wit  could  raise  a  smile,  or  the  eloquence  of  Learn- 
ing procure  attention.  In  revenge  of  this  contempt 
they  agreed  to  incite  their  followers  against  them ; 
but  the  forces  that  were  sent  on  those  expeditions 
frequently  betrayed  their  trust;  and,  in  contempt  of 
the  orders  which  they  had  received,  flattered  the 
rich  in  public  while  they  scorned  them  in  their 
hearts ;  and  when,  by  this  treachery,  they  had  ob- 
tained the  favour  of  Plutus,  affected  to  look  with  an 
air  of  superiority  on  those  who  still  remained  in  the 
service  of  Wit  and  Learning. 

Disgusted  with  these  desertions,  the  two  rivals, 
at  the  same  time,  petitioned  Jupiter  for  readraission 
to  their  native  habitations.  Jupiter  thundered  on 
the  right  hand,  and  they  prepared  to  obey  the  happy 
summons.  Wit  readily  spread  his  wings  and  soared 
aloft,  but  not  being  able  to  see  far,  was  bewildered 
in  the  pathless  immensity  of  the  ethereal  spaces. 
Learning,  who  knew  the  way,  shook  her  pinions ; 
but  for  want  of  natural  vigour  could  only  take  short 
flights ;  so,  after  many  efforts,  they  both  sunk  again 
to  the  ground,  and  learned,  from  their  nnitual  dis- 
tress, the  necessity  of  union.  They  therefore  joined 
their  hands  and  renewed  their  flight;  Learning  was 
borne  up  by  the  vigour  of  Wit,  and  Wit  guided  by 

198  RAMBLER.  NO.   23. 

the  perspicacity  of  Learning.  They  soon  reached 
the  dwellings  of  Jupiter,  and  were  so  endeared  to 
each  other,  that  they  lived  afterwards  in  perpetual 
concord.  Wit  persuaded  Learning  to  converse  with 
the  Graces,  and  Learning  engaged  Wit  in  the  ser- 
vice of  the  Virtues.  They  were  now  the  favourites 
of  all  the  powers  of  heaven,  and  gladdened  every 
banquet  by  their  presence.  They  soon  after  mar- 
ried, at  the  command  of  Jupiter,  and  had  a  numer- 
ous progeny  of  Arts  and  Sciences. 

No.  23.     TUESDAY,  JUNE  5,  1750. 

Tres  mihi  convivce  prope  disseniire  videntur ; 
Poscentes  vario  muUuni  diversa  palaio. 

HOK.   EPIST.   ii.   2.   61. 

Thi'ee  guests  I  have,  dissenting  at  my  feast 

Requiring  each  to  gratify  his  taste 

With  different  food.  fbancis. 

That  every  man  should  regulate  his  actions  by 
his  own  conscience,  without  any  regard  to  the  opin- 
ions of  the  rest  of  the  world,  is  one  of  the  first 
precepts  of  moral  prudence ;  justified  not  only  by 
the  suffrage  of  reason,  which  declares  that  none  of 
the  gifts  of  Heaven  are  to  lie  useless,  but  by  the 
voice  likewise  of  experience,  which  will  soon  inform 
us  that,  if  we  make  the  praise  or  blame  of  others 
the  rule  of  our  conduct,  we  shall  be  distracted  by 
a   boundless    variety  of  irreconcilable  judgments, 

NO.   23.  RAMBLER.  199 

be  held  in  perpetual  suspense  between  contrary 
impulses,  and  consult  forever  without  determination. 

I  know  not  whether,  for  the  same  reason,  it  is  not 
necessary  for  an  author  to  place  some  confidence  in 
his  own  skill,  and  to  satisfy  himself  in  the  knowledge 
that  he  has  not  deviated  from  the  established  laws 
of  composition,  without  submitting  his  works  to  fre- 
quent examinations  before  he  gives  them  to  the 
public,  or  endeavouring  to  secure  success  by  a  soli- 
citous conformity  to  advice  and  criticism. 

It  is,  indeed,  quickly  discoverable,  that  consulta- 
tion and  comphance  can  conduce  little  to  the  perfec- 
tion of  any  literary  performance  ;  for  whoever  is  so 
doubtful  of  his  own  abilities  as  to  encourage  the  re- 
marks of  others,  will  find  himself  every  day  embar- 
rassed with  new  difficulties,  and  will  harass  his 
mind,  in  vain,  with  the  hopeless  labour  of  uniting 
heterogeneous  ideas,  digesting  independent  hints, 
and  collecting  into  one  point  the  several  rays  of 
borrowed  light,  emitted  often  with  contrary  di- 

Of  all  authors,  those  who  retail  their  labours  in 
periodical  sheets  would  be  most  unhappy,  if  they 
were  much  to  regard  the  censures  or  the  admonitions 
of  their  readers  ;  for,  as  their  works  are  not  sent  into 
the  world  at  once,  but  by  small  parts  in  gradual  suc- 
cession, it  is  always  imagined,  by  those  who  think 
themselves  qualified  to  give  instructions,  that  they 
may  yet  redeem  their  former  failings  by  hearkening 
to  better  judges,  and  supply  the  deficiencies  of  their 
plan,  by  the  help  of  the  criticisms  which  are  so  lib- 
erally afforded. 

I  have  had  occasion  to  observe,  sometimes  with 
vexation,  and  sometimes  with  merriment,  the  differ- 
ent tem[)er  with  which  the  same  man  reads  a  print- 
ed and  manuscript  performance.     When  a  book  is 

200  RAMBLER.  NO.   23. 

once  in  the  hands  of  the  public,  it  is  considered  as 
permanent  and  unaUerable ;  and  the  reader,  if  he 
be  free  from  personal  prejudices-,  takes  it  up  with 
no  other  intention  than  of  pleasing  or  instructing 
himself;  he  accommodates  his  mind  to  the  author's 
design ;  and,  having  no  interest  in  refusing  the 
amusement  that  is  offered  him,  never  interrupts  his 
own  tranquillity  by  studied  cavils,  or  destroys  his 
satisfaction  in  that  which  is  already  well,  by  an  anx- 
ious mquiry  how  it  might  be  better ;  but  is  often 
contented  without  pleasure,  and  pleased  without 

But  if  the  same  man  be  called  to  consider  the 
merit  of  a  production  yet  unpublished,  he  brings  an 
imagination  heated  with  objections  to  passages, 
which  he  has  yet  never  heard ;  he  invokes  all  the 
power  of  criticism,  and  stores  his  memory  with  taste 
and  grace,  purity  and  delicacy,  manners  and  uni- 
ties, sounds  which,  having  been  once  uttered  by 
those  that  understood  them,  have  been  since  reechoed 
without  meaning,  and  kept  up  to  the  disturbance  of 
the  world,  by  a  constant  repercussion  from  one  cox- 
comb to  another.  He  considers  himself  as  obliged 
to  show,  by  some  proof  of  his  abilities,  that  he  is  not 
consulted  to  no  purpose,  and,  therefore,  watches 
every  opening  for  objection,  and  looks  round  for 
every  opportunity  to  propose  some  specious  altera- 
tion. Such  opportunities  a  very  small  degree  of 
sagacity  will  enable  him  to  find ;  for,  in  every  work 
of  imagination,  the  disposition  of  parts,  the  insertion 
of  incidents,  and  use  of  decorations,  may  be  varied 
a  thousand  ways  with  equal  propriety ;  and,  as  in 
things  nearly  equal,  that  will  always  seem  best  to 
every  man  which  he  himself  produces,  the  critic, 
whose  business  is  only  to  propose,  without  the  care 
of  execution,  can  never  want  the  satisfaction  of  be- 

NO.    23.  RAMBLER.  201 

Heving  that  he  has  suggested  very  important  im- 
provements, nor  the  power  of  enforcing  his  advice 
by  arguments,  which  as  they  appear  convincing  to 
himself,  either  his  kindness  or  his  vanity  will  press 
obstinately  and  importunately,  without  suspicion 
that  he  may  possibly  judge  too  hastily  in  favour  of 
his  own  advice,  or  inquiry  whether  the  advantage 
of  the  new  scheme  be  proportionate  to  the  labour. 

It  is  observed,  by  the  younger  Pliny,  that  an 
orator  ouglit  not  so  much  to  select  the  strongest  ar- 
guments which  his  cause  admits,  as  to  employ  all 
w^hich  his  imagination  can  afford;  for,  in  pleading, 
those  reasons  are  of  most  value,  which  will  most 
affect  the  judges  ;  "  and  the  judges,"  says  he,  "  will 
be  always  most  touched  with  that  which  they  had 
before  conceived."  Every  man  who  is  called  to 
give  his  opinion  of  a  performance,  decides  upon  the 
same  principle ;  he  first  suffers  himself  to  form  ex- 
pectations, and  then  is  angry  at  his  disappointment. 
He  lets  his  imaj^ination  rove  at  lar";e,  and  wonders 
that  another,  equally  unconfined  in  the  boundless 
ocean  of  possibility,  takes  a  different  course. 

But,  though  the  rule  of  Pliny  be  judiciously  laid 
down,  it  is  not  applicable  to  the  wa-iter's  cause,  be- 
cause there  always  lies  an  appeal  from  domestic  crit- 
icism to  a  higher  judicature,  and  the  public,  which 
is  never  corrupted,  nor  often  deceived,  is  to  pass  the 
last  sentence  upon  literary  claims. 

Of  the  great  force  of  preconceived  opinions  I  had 
many  proofs,  when  I  first  entered  upon  this  weekly 
labour.  My  readers  having,  from  the  performances 
of  my  predecessors,  established  an  idea  of  uncon- 
nected essays,  to  which  they  believed  all  future 
authors  under  a  necessity  of  conforming,  were  im- 
patient of  the  least  deviation  from  their  system,  and 
numerous  remonstrances  were  accordingly  made  by 

202  RAMBLER.  NO.    23. 

each,  as  he  found  his  favourite  subject  omitted  or 
delayed.  Some  were  angry  that  The  Rambler  did 
not,  like  The  Spectator,  introduce  himself  to  the 
acquaintance  of  the  public,  by  an  account  of  his  own 
birth  and  studies,  an  enumeration  of  his  adventures, 
and  a  description  of  his  physiognomy.  Others  soon 
began  to  remark  that  he  was  a  solemn,  serious,  dic- 
tatorial writer,  without  sprightliness  or  gayety,  and 
called  out  with  vehemence  for  mirth  and  humour. 
Another  admonished  him  to  have  a  special  eye  upon 
the  various  clubs  of  this  great  city,  and  informed 
him  that  much  of  The  Spectator's  vivacity  was  laid 
out  upon  such  assemblies.  He  has  been  censured 
for  not  imitating  the  politeness  of  his  predecessors, 
havinor  hitherto  neglected  to  take  the  ladies  under 
his  protection,  and  give  them  rules  for  the  just  op- 
position of  colours,  and  the  proper  dimensions  of 
ruffles  and  pinners.  He  has  been  required  by  one 
to  fix  a  particular  censure  upon  those  matrons 
who  play  at  cards  with  spectacles ;  and  another  is 
very  much  offended  whenever  he  meets  with  a  spec- 
ulation, in  which  naked  precepts  are  comprised, 
without  the  illustration  of  examples  and  characters. 
I  make  not  the  least  question  that  all  these  moni- 
tors intend  the  promotion  of  my  design,  and  the  in- 
struction of  my  readers ;  but  they  do  not  know,  or 
do  not  reflect,  that  an  author  has  a  rule  of  choic^e 
peculiar  to  himself;  and  selects  those  subjects  which 
he  is  best  qualified  to  treat,  by  the  course  of  his 
studies,  or  the  accidents  of  his  life  ;  that  some  topics 
of  amusement  have  been  already  treated  with  too 
much  success  to  invite  a  competition ;  and  that  he 
who  endeavours  to  gain  many  readers  must  try  vari- 
ous arts  of  invitation,  essay  every  avenue  of  pleas- 
ure, and  make  frequent  changes  in  his  methods  of 

NO.    24.       4  RAMBLER.  203 

I  cannot  but  consider  myself,  amidst  this  tumult 
of  criticism,  as  a  ship  in  a, poetical  tempest,  impelled 
at  the  same  time  by  opposite  winds,  and  dashed  by 
the  waves  from  every  quarter,  but  held  upright  by  the 
contrariety  of  the  assailants,  and  secured,  in  some 
measure,  by  multiplicity  of  distress.  Had  the  opin- 
ion of  my  censurers  been  unanimous,  it  might,  per- 
haps, have  overset  my  resolution ;  but,  since  I  lind 
them  at  variance  with  each  other,  I  can,  without 
scruple,  neglect  them,  and  endeavour  to  gain  the 
favour  of  the  public  by  following  the  direction  of 
my  own  reason,  and  indulging  the  sallies  of  my 
own  imagination. 

No.  24.     SATURDAY,  JUNE  9,  1750. 

— Ntim  in  sese  tentat  descendere. —     per3.  sat.  iv.  23. 
None,  none  descends  into  himself.  dktden. 

Among  the  precepts,  or  aphorisms,  admitted  by 
general  consent,  and  inculcated  by  frequent  repeti' 
tion,  there  is  none  more  famous  amonsr  the  masters 
of  ancient  wisdom,  than  that  compendious  lesson, 
TvC)t9l  aeavrdv, '  Be  acquainted  with  thyself;'  ascribed 
by  some  to  an  oracle,  and  by  others  to  Chilo,  of 

This  is,  indeed,  a  dictate,  which,  in  the  whole  ex- 
tent of  its  meaning,  may  be  said  to  comprise  all  the 
speculation  requisite  to  a  moral  agent.  For  what 
more  can  be  necessary  to  the  regulation  of  life,  than 

204  RAMBLER.  NO.  24. 

the  knowledge  of  our  original,  our  end,  our  duties, 
and  our  relation  to  other  beings  ? 

It  is,  however,  very  improbable  that  the  first  au- 
thor, whoever  he  was,  intended  to  be  understood  in 
this  unlimited  and  complicated  sense  ;  for  of  the 
inquiries,  which  in  so  large  an  acceptation  it  would 
seem  to  recommend,  some  are  too  extensive  for  the 
powers  of  man,  and  some  require  light  from  above, 
which  was  not  yet  indulged  to  the  heathen  world. 

We  might  have  had  more  satisfaction  concerning 
the  original  import  of  this  celebrated  sentence,  if 
history  had  informed  us,  whether  it  was  uttered  as 
a  general  instruction  to  mankind,  or  as  a  particular 
caution  to  some  private  inquirer ;  whether  it  was 
applied  to  some  single  occasion,  or  laid  down  as  the 
universal  rule  of  life. 

There  will  occur,  upon  the  slightest  consideration, 
many  possible  circumstances,  in  which  this  monition 
might  very  properly  be  enforced ;  for  every  error  in 
human  conduct  must  arise  from  ignorance  in  our- 
selves, either  perpetual  or  temporary  ;  and  happen 
either  because  we  do  not  know  what  is  best  and 
fittest,  or  because  our  knowledge  is,  at  the  time  of 
action,  not  present  to  the  mind. 

When  a  man  employs  himself  upon  remote  and 
unnecessary  subjects,  and  wastes  his  life  upon  ques- 
tions which  cannot  be  resolved,  and  of  which  the 
solution  would  conduce  very  little  to  the  advance- 
mem  of  happiness  ;  when  he  lavishes  his  hours  in 
calculating  the  weight  of  the  terraqueous  globe,  or 
in  adjusting  successive  systems  of  worlds  beyond  the 
reach  of  the  telescope  ;  he  may  be  very  properly 
recalled  from  his  excursions  by  this  precept,  and 
reminded  that  there  is  a  nearer  Being  with  which 
it  is  his  duty  to  be  more  acquainted  ;  and  from  which 
his  attention  has  hitherto  been  withheld  by  studies, 

NO.  24.  KAMBLER.  205 

to  which  he  has  no  other  motive  than  vanity  or 

The  great  praise  of  Socrates  is,  that  he  drew  the 
wits  of  Greece,  by  his  instruction  and  example,  from 
the  vain  pursuit  of  natural  philosophy  to  moral  in- 
quiries, and  turned  their  thoughts  from  stars  and 
tides,  and  matter  and  motion,  upon  the  various  modes 
of  virtue  and  relations  of  life.  All  his  lectures  were 
but  commentaries  upon  this  saying;  if  we  suppose 
the  knowledge  of  ourselves  recommended  by  Chilo, 
in  opposition  to  other  inquiries  less  suitable  to  the 
state  of  man. 

The  great  fault  of  men  of  learning  is  still,  that 
they  offend  against  this  rule,  and  appear  willing 
to  study  any  thing  rather  than  themselves  ;  for  which 
reason  they  are  often  despised  by  those,  with  whom 
they  imagine  themselves  above  comparison ;  despised, 
as  useless  to  common  purposes,  as  unable  to  con- 
duct the  most  trivial  affairs,  and  unqualified  to 
perform  those  offices  by  which  the  concatenation  of 
society  is  preserved,  and  mutual  tenderness  excited 
and  maintained. 

Gelidus  is  a  man  of  great  penetration,  and  deep 
researches.  Having  a  mind  naturally  formed  for 
the  abstruser  sciences,  he  can  comprehend  intricate 
combinations  without  confusion ;  and  being  of  a 
temper  naturally  cool  and  equal,  he  is  seldom  inter- 
rupted by  his  passions  in  the  pursuit  of  the  longest 
chain  of  unexpected  consequences.  He  has,  there- 
fore, a  long  time  indulged  hopes,  that  the  solution 
of  some  problems,  by  which  the  professors  of  science 
have  been  hitherto  bafHed,  is  reserved  for  his  genius 
and  industry.  He  spends  his  time  in  the  highest 
room  of  his  house,  into  which  none  of  his  family  are 
suffered  to  enter ;  and  when  he  comes  down  to  his 
dinner,  or  his  rest,  he  walks  about  like  a  stranger 

206  RAMBLER.  NO.    24. 

that  is  there  only  for  a  day,  without  any  tokens  of 
regard  or  tenderness.  He  has  totally  divested  him- 
self of  all  human  sensations  :  he  has  neither  eye  for 
beauty,  nor  ear  for  complaint ;  he  neither  rejoices 
at  the  good  fortune  of  his  nearest  friend,  nor  mourns 
for  any  public  or  private  calamity.  Having  once 
received  a  letter,  and  given  it  to  his  servant  to  read, 
he  was  informed  that  it  was  written  by  his  brother, 
who,  being  shipwrecked,  had  swum  naked  to  land, 
and  was  destitute  of  necessaries  in  a  foreign  country. 
Naked  and  destitute  !  says  Gelidus  ;  reach  down  the 
last  volume  of  meteorological  observations,  extract 
an  exact  account  of  the  wind,  and  note  it  carefully 
in  the  diary  of  the  weather.' 

The  family  of  Gelidus  once  broke  into  his  study, 
to  show  him  that  a  town  at  a  small  distance  was  on 
fire,  and  in  a  few  moments  a  servant  came  to  tell 
him,  that  the  flame  had  caught  so  many  houses  on 
both  sides,  that  the  inhabitants  were  confounded,  and 
began  to  think  of  rather  escaping  with  their  lives, 
than  saving  their  dwellings.  '  What  you  tell  me,' 
says  Gelidus,  'is  very  probable,  for  fire  naturally 
acts  in  a  circle.' 

Thus  lives  this  great  philosopher,  insensible  to 
every  spectacle  of  distress,  and  unmoved  by  the 
loudest  call  of  social  nature,  for  want  of  considering 
that  men  are  designed  for  the  succour  and  comfort 
of  each  other ;  that  though  there  are  hours  which 
may  be  laudably  spent  upon  knowledge  not  imme- 
diately useful,  yet  the  first  attention  is  due  to  practi- 
cal virtue ;  and  that  he  may  be  justly  driven  out 
from  the  commerce  of  mankind,  who  has  so  far  ab- 
stracted himself  from  the  species,  as  to  partake 
neither  of  the  joys  nor  griefs  of  others,  but  neglects 
the  endearments  of  his  wife,  and  the  caresses  of  his 
children,  to  count  the  drops  of  rain,  note  the  changes 

NO.   24.  RAMBLER.  207 

of  the  wind,  and  calculate  the  eclipses  of  the  moons 
of  Jupiter. 

I  shall  reserve  to  some  future  paper  the  religious 
and  important  meaning  of  this  epitome  of  wisdom ; 
and  only  remark,  that  it  may  be  applied  to  the  gay 
and  light,  as  well  as  to  the  grave  and  solemn  parts 
of  hfe ;  and  that  not  only  the  philosopher  may  for- 
feit his  pretences  to  real  learning,  but  the  wit  and 
the  beauty  may  miscarry  in  their  schemes,  by  the 
want  of  this  universal  requisite,  the  knowledge  of 

It  is  surely  for  no  other  reason,  that  we  see  such 
numbers  resolutely  struggling  against  nature,  and 
contending  for  that  which  they  never  can  attain,  en- 
deavouring to  unite  contradictions,  and  determined 
to  excel  in  characters  inconsistent  with  each  other ; 
that  stockjobbers  affect  dress,  gayety,  and  elegance, 
and  mathematicians  labour  to  be  wits ;  that  the  sol- 
dier teases  his  acquaintance  with  questions  in  theol- 
ogy, and  the  academic  hopes  to  divert  the  ladies  by 
a  recital  of  his  gallantries.  That  absurdity  of  pride 
could  proceed  only  from  ignorance  of  themselves, 
by  which  Garth  attempted  criticism,  and  Congreve 
waved  his  title  to  dramatic  reputation,  and  desired 
to  be  considered  only  as  a  gentleman. 

Euphues,  with  great  parts,  and  extensive  know- 
ledge, has  a  clouded  aspect  and  ungracious  form ; 
yet  it  has  been  his  ambition,  from  his  first  entrance 
into  life,  to  distinguish  himself  by  particularities  in 
his  dress,  to  outvie  beaux  in  embroidery,  to  import 
new  trimmings,  and  to  be  foremost  in  the  fashion. 
Euphues  has  turned  on  his  exterior  appearance  that 
attention  which  would  always  have  produced  esteem 
had  it  been  fixed  upon  his  mind  ;  and  though  his 
virtues  and  abilities  have  preserved  him  from  the 
contempt  which   he  has   so  diligently   solicited,  he 

208  EAMBLER.  NO.    25. 

has,  at  least,  raised  one  impediment  to  his  reputa- 
tion ;  since  all  can  judge  of  his  dress,  but  few  of  his 
understanding ;  and  many  who  discern  that  he  is  a 
fop,  are  unwilUng  to  beUeve  that  he  can  be  wise. 

There  is  one  instance  in  which  the  ladies  are  par- 
ticularly unwilling  to  observe  the  rule  of  Chilo. 
They  are  desirous  to  hide  from  themselves  the  ad- 
vances of  age,  and  endeavour  too  frequently  to 
supply  the  sprightliness  and  bloom  of  youth  by  arti- 
ficial beauty  and  forced  vivacity.  They  hope  to  in- 
flame the  heart  by  glances  which  have  lost  their 
fire,  or  melt  it  by  languor  which  is  no  longer  deli- 
cate ;  they  play  over  the  airs  which  pleased  at  a 
time  when  they  were  expected  only  to  please,  and 
forget  that  airs  in  time  ought  to  give  place  to  virtues. 
They  continue  to  trifle,  because  they  could  once 
trifle  agreeably,  till  those  who  shared  their  early 
j^leasures  are  withdrawn  to  more  serious  engage- 
ments ;  and  are  scarcely  awakened  from  their  dream 
of  perpetual  youth,  but  by  the  scorn  of  those  whom 
they  endeavour  to  rival. 

No.  25.     TUESDAY,  JUNE  12,  1750. 

— Possunt,  quia  posse  videntur.  virg.  m^.  v.  231. 

For  they  can  conquer  who  believe  they  can.    dryden. 

There  are  some  vices  and  errors  which,  though 
often  fatal  to  those  in  whom  they  are  found,  have 

NO.    25.  RAMBLER.  209 

yet,  by  the  universal  consent  of  mankind,  been  con- 
sidered as  entitled  to  some  degree  of  respect,  or 
have,  at  least,  been  exempted  from  contemptuous 
infamy,  and  condemned  by  the  severest  moralists- 
with  pity  rather  than  detestation. 

A  constant  and  invariable  example  of  this  general 
partiality  will  be  found  in  the  different  regard  which 
has  always  been  shown  to  rashness  and  cowardice, 
two  vices,  of  which,  though  they  may  be  conceived 
equally  distant  from  the  middle  point,  where  true 
fortitude  is  placed,  and  may  equally  injure  any 
public  or  private  interest,  yet  the  one  is  never  men- 
tioned without  some  kind  of  veneration,  and  the 
other  always  considered 'as  a  topic  of  unlimited  and 
licentious  censure,  on  which  all  the  virulence  of  re- 
proach may  be  lawfully  exerted. 

The  same  distinction  is  made,  by  the  common 
suffrage,  between  profusion  and  avarice,  and,  per- 
haps, between  many  other  opposite  vices ;  and,  as  I 
have  found  reason  to  pay  great  regard  to  the  voice 
of  the  people  in  cases  where  knowledge  has  been 
forced  upon  them  by  experience,  without  long  de- 
ductions or  deep  researches,  I  am  inclined  to  believe 
that  this  distribution  of  respect  is  not  without  some 
agreement  with  the  nature  of  things ;  and  that  in 
the  faults,  which  are  thus  invested  with  extraordi- 
nary privileges,  there  are  generally  some  latent  prin- 
ciples of  merit,  some  possibilities  of  future  virtue, 
which  may,  by  degrees,  break  from  obstruction, 
and  by  time  and  0})portunity  be  brought  into  act. 

It  may  be  laid  down  as  an  axiom,  that  it  is  more 
easy  to  take  away  superfluities  than  to  suj)ply  de- 
fects ;  and,  therefore,  he  that  is  culpable,  because 
he  has  passed  the  middle  point  of  virtue,  is  always 
accounted  a  fairer  object  of  hope,  than  he  who  fails 
by  falling  short.     The   one  has   all  that   perfection 

VOL.    XVI.  14 

210  RAMBLER.  NO.   25. 

requires,  and  more,  but  the  excess  may  be  easily  re- 
trenched ;  the  other  wants  the  qualities  requisite  to 
excellence,  and  who  can  tell  how  he  shall  obtain 
them  ?  We  are  certain  that  the  horse  may  be  taught 
to  keep  pace  with  his  fellows,  whose  fault  is  that 
he  leaves  them  behind.  We  know  that  a  few  strokes 
of  the  axe  will  lop  a  cedar ;  but  what  arts  of  culti- 
vation can  elevate  a  shrub  ? 

To  walk  with  circumspection  and  steadiness  in 
the  right  path,  at  an  equal  distance  between  the 
extremes  of  error,  ought  to  be  the  constant  en- 
deavour of  every  reasonable  being  ;  nor  can  I  think 
those  teachers  of  moral  wisdom  much  to  be  honoured 
as  benefactors  to  mankind,  who  are  always  enlarg- 
ing upon  the  difficulty  of  our  duties,  and  providing 
rather  excuses  for  vice,  than  Incentives  to  virtue. 

But,  since  to  most  it  will  happen  often,  and  to  all 
sometimes,  that  there  will  be  a  deviation  towards 
one  side  or  the  other,  we  ought  always  to  employ 
our  vigilance,  with  most  attention,  on  that  enemy 
from  which  there  is  the  greatest  danger,  and  to 
stray,  if  we  must  stray,  towards  those  parts  from 
whence  we  may  quickly  and  easily  return. 

Among  other  opposite  qualities  of  the  mind  which 
may  become  dangerous,  though  in  different  degrees, 
I  have  often  had  occasion  to  consider  the  contrary 
eff"ects  of  presumption  and  despondency  ;  of  heady 
confidence,  which  promises  victory  without  contest, 
and  heartless  pusillanimity,  wdilch  shrinks  back  from 
the  thought  of  great  undertakings,  confounds  diffi- 
culty with  Impossibility,  and  considers  all  advance- 
ment towards  any  new  attainment  as  irreversibly 


Presumption  will  be  easily  corrected.  Every  ex- 
periment will  teach  caution,  and  miscarriages  will 
liourly  show,  that  attempts  are  not  always  rewarded 

NO.    25.  RAMBLER.  211 

with  success.  The  most  precipitate  ardour  will,  in 
time,  be  taught  the  necessity  of  methodical  gradation 
and  preparatory  measures  ;  and  the  most  daring  con- 
fidence be  convinced  that  neither  merit,  nor  abilities, 
can  command  events. 

It  is  the  advantage  of  vehemence  and  activity, 
that  they  are  always  hastening  to  their  own  refor- 
mation ;  because  they  incite  us  to  try  whether  our 
expectations  are  well  grounded,  and,  therefore,  de- 
tect the  deceits  which  they  are  apt  to  occasion.  But 
timidity  is  a  disease  of  the  mind  more  obstinate  and 
fatal ;  for  a  man  once  persuaded  that  any  impedi- 
ment is  insuperable,  has  given  it,  with  respect  to 
himself,  that  strength  and  weight  which  it  had  not 
before.  He  can  scarcely  strive  with  vigour  and 
perseverance,  when  he  has  no  hope  of  gaining  the 
victory;  and  since  he  never  will  try  his  strength, 
can  never  discover  the  unreasonableness  of  his  fears. 

There  is  often  to  be  found  in  men  devoted  to  lit- 
erature, a  kind  of  intellectual  cowardice,  which, 
whoever  converses  much  among  them,  may  observe 
frequently  to  depress  the  alacrity  of  enterprise,  and, 
by  consequence,  to  retard  the  improvement  of 
science.  They  have  annexed  to  every  species  of 
knowledge  some  chimerical  character  of  terror  and 
inhibition,  which  they  transmit,  without  much  reflec- 
tion, from  one  to  another ;  they  first  fright  them- 
selves, and  then  propagate  the  panic  to  their  scholars 
and  acquaintance.  One  study  is  inconsistent  with 
a  lively  imagination,  another  with  a  solid  judgment ; 
one  is  improper  in  the  early  parts  of  life,  another 
requires  so  much  time,  that  it  is  not  to  be  attempted 
at  an  advanced  age ;  one  is  dry  and  contracts  the 
sentiments,  another  is  diffuse  and  overburdens  the 
memory ;  one  is  insufferable  to  taste  and  delicacy, 
and  another   wears   out  life  in   the  study  of  words, 

212  RAMBLER.  NO.    25, 

and  is  useless  to  a  wise  man,  who  desires  only  the 
knowledge  of  things. 

But  of  all  the  bugbears  by  which  the  Infantes 
harhati,  boys  both  young  and  old,  have  been  hitherto 
frif>-hted  from  digressing  into  new  tracts  of  learning, 
none  has  been  more  mischievously  efficacious  than 
an  opinion  that  every  kind  of  knowledge  requires  a 
pecuUar  genius,  or  mental  constitution,  framed  for 
the  reception  of  some  ideas,  and  the  exclusion  of 
others;  and  that  to  him  whose  genius  is  not  adapted 
to  the  study  which  he  prosecutes,  all  labour  shall  be 
vain  and  fruitless,  vain  as  an  endeavour  to  mingle 
oil  and  water,  or,  in  the  language  of  chemistry,  to 
amalgamate  bodies  of  heterogeneous  principles. 

This  opinion  we  may  reasonably  suspect  to  have 
been  propagated,  by  vanity,  beyond  the  truth.  It  is 
natural  for  those  who  have  raised  a  reputation  by 
any  science,  to  exalt  themselves  as  endowed  by 
Heaven  with  pecuhar  powers,  or  marked  out  by  an 
extraordinary  designation  for  their  profession ;  and 
to  frio-ht  competitors  away  by  representing  the  dith- 
cultiel  with  which  they  must  contend,  and  the  ne- 
cessity of  qualities  which  are  supposed  to  be  not 
generally  conferred,  and  which  no  man  can  know, 
but  by  experience,  whether  he  enjoys. 

To  this  discouragement  it  may  be  possibly  an- 
wered,  that  since  a  genius,  whatever  it  be,  is  like 
fire  in  the  flint,  only  to  be  produced  by  colhsion  with 
a  proper  subject,  it  is  the  business  of  every  man  to 
try  whether  his  facuUies  may  not  happily  cooperate 
with  his  desires ;  and  since  they  whose  proficiency 
he  admires,  knew  their  own  force  only  by  the  event, 
he  needs  but  engage  in  the  same  undertaking  with 
equal  spirit,  and  may  reasonably  hope  for  equal 

success.  ^  ^  ,       .  .  IT 

There   is   another   species   of  false   intelhgence, 

NO.    25.  RAMBLER.  213 

given  by  those  who  profess  to  show  the  way  to  the 
summit  of  knowledge,  of  equal  tendency  to  depress 
the  mind  with  false  distrust  of  itself,  and  weaken  it 
by  needless  solicitude  and  dejection.  When  a 
scholar  whom  they  desire  to  animate,  consults  them 
at  his  entrance  on  some  new  study,  it  is  common  to 
make  flattering  representations  of  its  pleasantness 
and  facility.  Thus  they  generally  attain  one  of  two 
ends  almost  equally  desirable;  they  either  incite 
his  industry  by  elevating  his  hopes,  or  produce  a 
high  opinion  of  their  own  abilities,  since  they  are 
supposed  to  relate  only  what  they  have  found,  and 
to  have  proceeded  with  no  less  ease  than  they  prom- 
ise to  their  followers. 

The  student,  inflamed  by  this  encouragement,  sets 
forward  in  the  new  path,  and  proceeds  a  few  steps 
with  great  alacrity,  but  he  soon  finds  asperities  and 
intricacies  of  which  he  has  not  been  forewarned, 
and  imagining  that  none  ever  were  so  entangled  or 
fatigued  before  him,  sinks  suddenly  into  despair, 
and  desists  as  from  an  expedition  in  M'hicli  fate  op- 
poses him.  Thus  his  terrors  are  multiplied  by  his 
hopes,  and  he  is  defeated  without  resistance  because 
he  had  no  expectation  of  an  enemy. 

Of  these  treacherous  instructors,  the  one  destroys 
industry,  by  declaring  that  industry  is  vain,  the  other 
by  representing  it  as  needless ;  the  one  cuts  away 
the  root  of  hope,  the  other  raises  it  only  to  be 
blasted.  The  one  confines  his  pupil  to  the  shore, 
by  telling  him  that  his  wreck  is  certain,  the  other 
sends  him  to  sea,  without  preparing  him  for  tempests. 

False  hopes  and  false  terrors  are  equally  to  be 
avoided.  Every  man  who  proposes  to  grow  eminent 
by  learning,  should  carry  in  his  mind,  at  once,  the 
diflSculty  of  excellence,  and  the  force  of  industry; 
and  remember  that  fame  is  not  conferred  but  as  the 

214  RAMBLER.  NO.    26. 

recompense   of  labour,  and  that  labour,  vigorously 
continued,  has  not  often  failed  of  its  reward. 

No.  26.     SATURDAY,  JUNE  16,  1750. 

Inqentes  dominos,  et  darce  nomina  fam(B, 

'llluatnque  graves  nobilltate  domos 
Devita,  et  longe  cautus  fuge  :  contrahe  vela, 

Et  te  littoribus  cymbaj^ropinqua  vehat.  senega. 

Each  mighty  lord,  big  with  a  pompous  name, 
And  each  high  house  of  fortune  and  of  fame, 
"With  caution  fly ;  contract  thy  ample  sails, 
And  near  the  shore  improve  the  gentle  gales. 


"  It  is  usual  for  men,  engaged  in  the  same  pur- 
suits, to  be  inquisitive  after  the  conduct  and  fortune 
of  each  other ;  and,  therefore,  I  suppose  it  will  not 
be  unpleasing  to  you,  to  read  an  account  of  the  vari- 
ous changes  which  have  happened  in  part  of  a  life 
devoted  to  literature.  My  narrative  will  not  ex- 
hibit any  great  variety  of  events,  or  extraordinary 
revolutions ;  but  may,  perhaps,  be  not  less  useful, 
because  I  shall  relate  nothing  which  is  not  likely  to 
happen  to  a  thousand  others. 

"  I  was  born  heir  to  a  very  small  fortune,  and 
left  by  my  father,  whom  I  cannot  remember,  to  the 
care  of  an  uncle.  He  having  no  children,  always 
treated  me  as  his  son,  and  finding  in  me  those  qual- 
ities which   old   men   easily  discover  in  sprightly 

NO.    26.  RAMBLER.  215 

cliildren,  when  they  happen  to  love  them,  declared 
that  a  genius  like  mine  should  never  be  lost  for  want 
of  cultivation.  He  therefore  placed  me,  for  the 
usual  time,  at  a  great  scliool,  and  then  sent  me  to 
the  university,  with  a  larger  allowance  than  my  own 
patrimony  would  have  afforded,  that  I  might  not 
keep  mean  company,  but  learn  to  become  my  dig- 
nity when  I  should  be  made  lord  chancellor,  which 
he  often  lamented  that  the  increase  of  his  infirmities 
was  very  likely  to  preclude  him  from  seeing. 

"  This  exuberance  of  money  displayed  itself  in 
gayety  of  appearance  and  wantonness  of  expense, 
and  introduced  me  to  the  acquaintance  of  those 
whom  the  same  superfluity  of  fortune  betrayed  to 
the  same  license  and  ostentation :  young  heirs,  who 
pleased  themselves  with  a  remark  very  frequent  in 
their  mouths,  that  though  they  were  sent  by  their 
fathers  to  the  university,  they  were  not  under  the 
necessity  of  living  by  their  learning. 

"  Among  men  of  this  class  I  easily  obtained  the 
reputation  of  a  great  genius,  and  was  persuaded, 
that  with  such  liveliness  of  imagination,  and  delicacy 
of  sentiment,  I  should  never  be  able  to  submit  to 
the  drudgery  of  the  law.  I  therefore  gave  myself 
wholly  to  the  more  airy  and  elegant  parts  of  learn- 
ing, and  was  often  so  much  elated  with  my  supe- 
riority to  the  youths  with  whom  I  conversed,  that  I 
began  to  listen,  with  great  attention,  to  those  that 
recommended  to  me  a  wider  and  more  conspicuous 
theatre ;  and  was  particularly  touched  with  an  ob- 
servation, made  by  one  of  my  friends :  '  That  it  was 
not  by  lingering  in  the  university  that  Prior  became 
ambassador,  or  Addison  secretary  of  state.' 

"  This  desire  was  hourly  increased  by  the  solici- 
tation of  my  companions,  who  removing  one  by  one 
to  London,  as  the  caprice  of  their  relations  allowed 

216  RAMBLER.  NO.   26. 

them,  or  the  legal  dismission  from  the  hands  of  their 
guardians  put  in  their  power,  never  failed  to  send 
an  account  of  the  beauty  and  felicity  of  the  new 
world,  and  to  remonstrate  how  much  was  lost  by 
every  hour's  continuance  in  a  place  of  retirement 
and  constraint. 

"  My  uncle  in  the  mean  time  frequently  harassed 
me  with  monitory  letters,  which  I  sometimes  neg- 
lected to  open  for  a  week  after  I  received  them,  and 
generally  read  in  a  tavern,  with  such  comments  as 
might  show  how  much  I  was  superior  to  instruction 
or  advice.  I  could  not  but  wonder  how  a  man  con- 
fined to  the  country,  and  unacquainted  with  the 
present  system  of  things,  should  imagine  himself 
qualified  to  instruct  a  rising  genius,  born  to  give 
laws  to  the  age,  refine  its  taste,  and  multiply  its 

"  The  postman,  however,  still  continued  to  bring 
me  new  remonstrances  ;  for  my  uncle  was  very  little 
depressed  by  the  ridicule  and  reproach  which  he 
never  heard.  But  men  of  parts  have  quick  resent- 
ments ;  it  was  impossible  to  bear  his  usurpations  for- 
ever ;  and  I  resolved,  once  for  all,  to  make  him  an 
example  to  those  who  imagine  themselves  wise  be- 
cause they  are  old,  and  to  teach  young  men,  who 
are  too  tame  under  representation,  in  what  manner 
graybearded  insolence  ought  to  be  treated.  I  there- 
fore one  evening  took  my  pen  in  hand,  and  after 
having  animated  myself  with  a  catch,  wrote  a  gen- 
eral answer  to  all  his  precepts,  with  such  vivacity 
of  turn,  such  elegance  of  irony,  and  such  asperity 
of  sarcasm,  that  I  convulsed  a  large  company  with 
universal  laughter,  disturbed  the  neighbourhood  with 
vociferations  of  applause,  and  five  days  afterwards 
was  answered,  that  I  must  be  content  to  live  on  my 
own  estate. 

NO.    26.  RAMBLER.  217 

"  This  contraction  of  my  income  gave  me  no  dis- 
turbance, for  a  genius  like  mine  was  out  of  the  reach 
of  want.  I  had  friends  that  would  be  proud  to  open 
their  purses  at  my  call,  and  prospects  of  such  ad- 
vancement as  would  soon  reconcile  my  uncle,  whom, 
upon  mature  deliberation,  1  resolved  to  receive  into 
favour,  without  insisting  on  any  acknowledgment 
of  his  offence,  when  the  splendour  of  my  condition 
should  induce  him  to  wish  for  my  countenance.  I 
therefore  went  up  to  London,  before  I  had  shown 
the  alteration  of  my  condition  by  any  abatement 
of  my  way  of  living,  and  was  received  by  all  my 
academical  acquaintance  with  triumph  and  congrat- 
ulation. I  was  immediately  introduced  among  the 
wits  and  men  of  spirit ;  and  in  a  short  time  had 
divested  myself  of  all  my  scholar's  gravity,  and  ob- 
tained the  reputation  of  a  pretty  fellow. 

"You  will  easily  believe  that  I  had  no  great 
knowledge  of  the  world  ;  yet  I  had  been  hindered, 
by  the  general  disinclination  every  man  feels  to  con- 
fess poverty,  from  telling  to  any  one  the  resolution 
of  my  uncle,  and  for  some  time  subsisted  upon  the 
stock  of  money  which  I  had  brought  with  me,  and 
contributed  my  share,  as  before,  to  all  our  entertain- 
ments. But  my  pocket  was  soon  emptied,  and  I 
was  obliged  to  ask  my  friends  for  a  small  sum.  This 
was  a  favour  which  we  had  often  reciprocally  re- 
ceived from  one  another ;  they  supposed  my  wants 
only  accidental,  and  therefore  willingly  supplied 
them.  In  a  short  time  I  found  a  necessity  of  asking 
again,  and  was  again  treated  with  the  same  civility ; 
but  the  third  time  they  began  to  wonder  what  that 
old  rogue,  my  uncle,  could  mean  by  sending  a  gentle- 
man to  town  without  money ;  and  when  they  gave 
what  I  asked  for,  advised  me  to  stipulate  for  more 
regular  remittances. 

218  RAMBLER.  NO.    26. 

"  This  somewhat  disturbed  my  dream  of  constant 
affluence,  but  I  was  three  days  after  completely 
awaked ;  for  entering  the  tavern,  where  we  met 
every  evening,  I  found  the  waiters  remitted  their 
complaisance,  and,  instead  of  contending  to  light  me 
up  stairs,  suffered  me  to  wait  for  some  minutes  by 
the  bar.  When  I  came  to  my  company,  I  found 
them  unusually  grave  and  formal,  and  one  of  them 
took  the  hint  to  turn  the  conversation  upon  the  mis- 
conduct of  young  men,  and  enlarged  upon  the  folly 
of  frequenting  the  company  of  men  of  fortune,  with- 
out being  able  to  support  the  expense,  an  observa- 
tion which  the  rest  contributed  either  to  enforce  by 
repetition,  or  to  illustrate  by  examples.  Only  one 
of  them  tried  to  divert  the  discourse,  and  endeav- 
oured to  direct  my  attention  to  remote  questions  and 
"common  topics. 

"  A  man  guilty  of  poverty  easily  believes  himself 
suspected  ;  I  went,  however,  next  morning  to  break- 
fast with  him  who  appeared  ignorant  of  the  drift  of 
the  conversation,  and  by  a  series  of  inquiries,  draw- 
ing still  nearer  to  the  point,  prevailed  on  him,  not, 
perhaps,  much  against  his  will,  to  inform  me,  that 
Mr.  Dash,  whose  father  was  a  wealthy  attorney  near 
my  native  place,  had,  the  morning  before,  received 
an  account  of  my  uncle's  resentment,  and  communi- 
cated his  intelligence  with  the  utmost  industry  of 
grovelling  insolence. 

"  It  was  now  no  longer  practicable  to  consort  with 
my  former  friends,  unless  I  would  be  content  to  be 
used  as  an  inferior  guest,  who  was  to  pay  for  his 
wine  by  mirth  and  flattery ;  a  character  which,  if  I 
could  not  escape  it,  I  resolved  to  endure  only  among 
those  who  had  never  known  me  in  the  pride  of 
plenty.  I  changed  my  lodgings,  and  frequented  the 
coffee-houses  in  a  different  region  of  the  town ;  where 

NO.    26.  11  AMBLER.  219 

I  was  very  quickly  distinguished  by  several  youno- 
gentlemen  of  liigh  birth  and  large  estates,  and  beo-an 
again  to  amuse  my  imagination  with  hopes  of  pre- 
ferment, though  not  quite  so  confidently  as  when  I 
had  less  experience. 

"  The  first  great  conquest  which  this  new  scene 
enabled  me  to  gain  over  myself  was,  when  I  sub- 
mitted to  confess  to  a  party,  who  invited  me  to  an 
expensive  diversion,  that  my  revenues  were  not 
equal  to  such  golden  pleasures ;  they  would  not 
suffer  me,  however,  to  stay  behind,  and  with  great 
reluctance  I  yielded  to  be  treated.  I  took  that  op- 
portunity of  recommending  myself  to  some  office  or 
employment,  which  they  unanimously  promised  to 
procure  me  by  their  joint  interest. 

"I  had  now  entered  into  a  state  of  dependence, 
and  had  hopes,  or  fears,  from  almost  every  man  I 
saw.  If  it  be  unhappy  to  have  one  patron,  what  is 
his  misery  who  has  many?  I  was  obliged  to  comply 
with  a  thousand  caprices,  to  concur  in  a  thousand 
follies,  and  to  countenance  a  thousand  errors.  I 
endured  innumerable  mortifications,  if  not  from 
cruelty,  at  least  from  negligence,  which  will  creep 
in  upon  the  kindest  and  most  delicate  minds,  when 
they  converse  without  the  mutual  awe  of  equal  con- 
dition. I  found  the  spirit  and  vigour  of  liberty  every 
moment  sinking  in  me,  and  a  servile  fear  of  displeas- 
ing, stealing  by  degrees  upon  all  my  behaviour,  till 
no  word,  or  look,  or  action,  was  my  own.  As  the 
solicitude  to  please  increased,  the  power  of  pleasing 
grew  less,  and  I  was  always  clouded  with  diffi- 
dence where  it  was  most  my  interest  and  wish  to 

"My  patrons,  considering  me  as  belonging  to  the 
community,  and,  therefore,  not  the  charge  of  any 
particular  person,  made    no  scruple  of  neglecting 

220  KAMBLER.  NO.    27. 

any  opportunity  of  promoting  me,  which  every  one 
thought  more  properly  the  business  of  another.  An 
account  of  my  expectations  and  disappointments,  and 
the  succeeding  vicissitudes  of  my  life,  I  shall  give  in 
my  following  letter,  which  will  be,  I  hope,  of  use  to 
show  how  ill  he  forms  his  schemes,  who  expects 
happiness  without  freedom. 

"  I  am,"  &c. 

No.  27.     TUESDAY,  JUNE  19,  1750. 

— Pauperiem  veritus,  jiotior  metalUs 
lAhertate  caret. —  hok.  epist.  i.  10.  31. 

So  he,  who  poverty  with  horror  views, 

Who  sells  his  freedom  iu  exchange  for  gold, 

Freedom  for  mines  of  wealth  too  cheaply  sold, 

Shall  make  eternal  servitude  his  fate, 

And  feel  a  haughty  master's  galling  weight,    francis. 

"  MR.    RAMBLER, 

"As  it  is  natural  for  every  man  to  think  himself 
of  importance,  your  knowledge  of  the  world  will  in- 
cline you  to  forgive  me,  if  I  imagine  your  curiosity 
so  much  excited  by  the  former  part  of  my  narra- 
tion, as  to  make  you  desire  that  I  should  proceed 
without  any  unnecessary  arts  of  connection.  I 
shall,  therefore,  not  keep  you  any  longer  in  sus- 
pense, as,  perhaps,  my  performance  may  not  com- 

"In   the   gay  company  with  which  I  was  now 

NO.    27.  KAMBLEK.  221 

united,  I  found  those  allurements  and  delights, 
which  the  friendship  of  young  men  always  affords ; 
there  was  that  openness  which  naturally  produced 
confidence,  that  affability  which,  in  some  measure, 
softened  dependence,  and  that  ardour  of  profession 
which  incited  hope.  When  our  hearts  were  dilated 
with  merriment,  promises  were  poured  out  with 
unlimited  profusion,  and  life  and  fortune  were  but 
a  scanty  sacrifice  to  friendship ;  but  wlien  the  hour 
came,  at  which  any  effort  was  to  be  made,  I  had 
generally  the  vexation  to  find  that  my  interest 
weighed  nothing  against  the  slightest  amusement, 
and  that  every  petty  avocation  was  found  a  suffi- 
cient plea  for  continuing  me  in  uncertainty  and 
want.  Their  kindness  was,  indeed,  sincere  ;  when 
they  promised,  they  had  no  intention  to  deceive ; 
but  the  same  juvenile  warmth  which  kindled  their 
benevolence,  gave  force  in  the  same  proportion  to 
every  other  passion,  and  I  was  forgotten  as  soon  as 
any  new  pleasure  seized  on  their  attention. 

"  Vagario  told  me  one  evening,  that  all  my  per- 
plexities should  be  soon  at  an  end,  and  desired  me, 
from  that  instant,  to  throw  upon  him  all  care  of  my 
fortune,  for  a  post  of  considerable  value  was  that 
day  become  vacant,  and  he  knew  his  interest  suffi- 
cient to  procure  it  in  the  morning.  He  desired  me 
to  call  on  him  early,  that  he  might  be  dressed  soon 
enough  to  wait  on  the  minister  before  any  other 
application  should  be  made.  I  came  as  he  appoint- 
ed, with  all  the  flame  of  gratitude,  and  was  told  by 
his  servant,  that  having  found  at  his  lodgings,  when 
he  came  home,  an  acquaintance  who  was  going  to 
travel,  he  had  been  persuaded  to  accompany  him  to 
Dover,  and  that  they  had  taken  post-horses  two 
hours  before  day. 

"  I  was  once  very  near  to  preferment,  by  the  kind- 

222  RAMBLER.  NO.    27. 

ness  of  Charinus,  who,  at  my  request,  went  to  beg  a 
place,  which  he  thought  me  likely  to  fill  with  great 
reputation,  and  in  which  I  should  have  many  oppor- 
tunities of  promoting  his  interest  in  return  ;  and  he 
pleased  himself  with  imagining  the  mutual  benefits 
that  we  should  confer,  and  the  advances  that  we 
should  make  by  our  united  strength.  Away,  there- 
fore, he  went,  equally  warm  with  friendship  and 
ambition,  and  left  me  to  prepare  acknowledgments 
against  his  return.  At  length  he  came  back,  and 
told  me  he  had  met  in  his  way  a  party  going  to 
breakfast  in  the  country,  that  the  ladies  importuned 
him  too  much  to  be  refused,  and  that,  having  passed 
the  morning  with  them,  he  was  come  back  to  dress 
himself  for   a  ball,  to  which  he  was  invited  for  the 


"I  have  suffered  several  disappointments  from 
tailors  and  periwig-makers,  who  by  neglecting  to 
perform  their  work  withheld  my  patrons  from  court ; 
and  once  failed  of  an  establishment  for  life  by  the 
delay  of  a  servant,  sent  to  a  neighbouring  shop  to 
replenish  a  snuffbox. 

"  At  last,  I  thought  my  solicitude  at  an  end,  for  an 
office  fell  into  the  gift  of  Hippodamus's  father,  who 
being  then  in  the  country,  could  not  very  speedily 
fill  it,  and  whose  fondness  would  not  have  suffered 
him  to  refuse  his  son  a  less  reasonable  request. 
Hippodamus,  therefore,  set  forward  with  great  ex- 
pedition, and  I  expected  every  hour  an  account  of 
his  success.  A  long  time  I  waited  without  any  in- 
telliffence,  but  at  last  received  a  letter  from  New- 
market,  by  which  I  was  informed  that  the  races 
were  begun,  and  I  knew  the  vehemence  of  his  pas- 
sions too  well  to  imagine  that  he  could  refuse  him- 
self his  favourite  amusement. 

"  You  will  not  wonder  that  T  was  at  last  weary 

NO.   27.  RAMBLER.  223 

of  the  patronage  of  young  men,  especially  as  I  found 
them  not  generally  to  promise  much  greater  fidelity 
as  they  advanced  in  life ;  for  I  observed  that  what 
they  gained  in  steadiness  they  lost  in  benevolence, 
and  grew  colder  to  my  interest  as  they  became  more 
diligent  to  promote  their  own.  I  was  convinced 
that  their  liberality  was  only  profuseness,  that,  as 
chance  directed,  they  were  equally  generous  to  vice 
and  virtue,  that  they  were  warm  but  because  they 
were  thoughtless,  and  counted  the  support  of  a  friend 
only  amongst  other  gratifications  of  passion. 

"My  resolution  was  now  to  ingratiate  myself 
with  men  whose  reputation  was  established,  whose 
high  stations  enabled  them  to  prefer  me,  and  whose 
age  exempted  them  from  sudden  changes  of  inclina- 
tion. I  was  considered  as  a  man  of  parts,  and, 
therefore,  easily  found  admission  to  the  table  of 
Hilarius,  the  celebrated  orator,  renowned  equally 
for  the  extent  of  his  knowledge,  the  elegance  of  his 
diction,  and  the  acuteness  of  his  wit.  Hilarius  re- 
ceived me  with  an  appearance  of  great  satisfaction, 
produced  to  me  all  his  friends,  and  directed  to  me 
that  part  of  his  discourse  in  which  he  most  endeav- 
oured to  display  his  imagination.  I  had  now  learned 
my  own  interest  enough  to  supply  him  opportuni- 
ties for  smart  remarks  and  gay  sallies,  which  I 
never  failed  to  echo  and  applaud.  Thus  I  was 
gaining  every  hour  on  his  affections,  till  unfortu- 
nately, when  the  assembly  was  more  splendid  than 
usual,  his  desire  of  admiration  prompted  him  to  turn 
his  raillery  upon  me.  I  bore  it  for  some  time  with 
great  submission,  and  success  encouraged  him  to 
redouble  his  attacks  ;  at  last  my  vanity  prevailed 
over  my  prudence,  I  retorted  his  irony  with  such 
spirit,  that  Hilarius,  unaccustomed  to  resistance,  was 
disconcerted,  and  soon  found  means  of  convincing 

224  RAMBLER.  NO.    27. 

me  that  his  purpose  was  not  to  encourage  a  rival, 
but  to  foster  a  parasite. 

"I  was  then  taken  into  the  familiarity  of  Argutio, 
a  nobleman  eminent  for  judgment  and  criticism.  He 
had  contributed  to  my  reputation  by  the  praises 
which  he  had  often  bestowed  upon  my  writings,  in 
which  he  owned  that  there  were  proofs  of  a  genius 
that  might  rise  to  high  degrees  of  excellence,  when 
time,  or  information,  had  reduced  its  exuberance. 
He,  therefore,  required  me  to  consult  him  before 
the  publication  of  any  new  performance,  and  com- 
monly proposed  innumerable  alterations,  without 
sufficient  attention  to  the  general  design,  or  regard 
to  my  form  of  style  and  mode  of  imagination.  But 
these  corrections  he  never  failed  to  press  as  indis- 
pensably necessary,  and  thought  the  least  delay  of 
compliance  an  act  of  rebellion.  The  pride  of  an 
author  made  this  treatment  insufferable,  and  I 
thought  any  tyranny  easier  to  be  borne  than  that 
which  took  from  me  the  use  of  my  understanding. 

"  My  next  patron  was  Eutyches,  the  statesman, 
who  was  wholly  engaged  in  public  affairs,  and 
seemed  to  have  no  ambition  but  to  be  powerful  and 
rich.  I  found  his  favour  more  permanent  than  that 
of  the  others,  for  there  was  a  certain  price  at  which 
it  might  be  bought ;  he  allowed  nothing  to  humour, 
or  to  affection,  but  was  always  ready  to  pay  liber- 
ally for  the  service  that  he  required.  His  demands 
were,  indeed,  very  often  such  as  virtue  could  not 
easily  consent  to  gratify ;  but  virtue  is  not  to  be 
consulted  when  men  are  to  raise  their  fortunes  by 
the  favour  of  the  great.  His  measures  were  cen- 
sured ;  I  wrote  in  his  defence,  and  was  recompensed 
with  a  place,  of  which  the  profits  were  never  re- 
ceived by  me  without  the  pangs  of  remembering 
that  they  were  the  reward  of  wickedness,  a  reward 

NO.    28.  RAMBLER.  225 

which  nothing  but  that  necessity  which  the  consump- 
tion of  my  Httle  estate  in  these  wild  pursuits  had 
brought  upon  me,  hindered  me  from  throwing  back 
in  the  face  of  my  corruptor. 

"  At  this  time  my  uncle  died  without  a  will,  and 
I  became  heir  to  a  small  fortune.  I  had  resolution 
to  throw  of  the  splendour  which  reproached  me  to 
myself,  and  retire  to  a  humbler  state,  in  which  I 
am  now  endeavouring  to  recover  the  dignity  of 
virtue,  and  hope  to  make  some  reparation  for  my 
crime  and  follies,  by  informing  others,  who  may  be 
led  after  the  same  pageants,  that  they  are  about  to 
engage  in  a  course  of  life,  in  which  they  are  to 
purchase,  by  a  thousand  miseries,  the  privilege  of 

.    "  I  am,  &c., 


No.  28.     SATURDAY,  JUNE  23,  1750. 

llli  mors  gravis  incubnt, 

Qui,  notus  nimis  omnibus, 

Ignotus  inoritur  sibi.  SENECA. 

To  him,  alas !  to  him,  I  fear, 

The  face  of  death  will  terrible  appear, 

Who  in  his  life,  fiatt'ring  his  senseless  pride, 

By  being  known  to  all  the  world  beside. 

Does  not  himself,  when  he  is  dying,  know, 

Nor  what  he  is,  nor  whither  he  's  to  go.     cowlet.  * 

I  HAVE   shown,  in  a  late  essay,  to  what  errors 
men  are  hourly  betrayed  by  a  mistaken  opinion  of 

VOL.    XVI.  15 

226  RAMBLER.  NO.   28. 

their  own  powers,  and  a  negligent  inspection  of  their 
own  character.  But  as  I  then  confined  my  obser- 
vations to  common  occurrences  and  familiar  scenes, 
I  think  it  proper  to  inquire,  how  far  a  nearer  ac- 
quaintance with  ourselves  is  necessary  to  our  pres- 
ervation from  crimes  as  well  as  follies,  and  how 
much  the  attentive  study  of  our  own  minds  may 
contribute  to  secure  to  us  the  approbation  of  that 
Being,  to  whom  we  are  accountable  for  our  thoughts 
and  our  actions,  and  whose  favour  must  finally  con- 
stitute our  total  happiness. 

If  it  be  reasonable  to  estimate  the  difficulty  of 
any  enterprise  by  frequent  miscarriages,  it  may 
justly  be  concluded  that  it  is  not  easy  for  a  man  to 
know  himself;  for  wheresoever  we  turn  our  view, 
we  shall  find  almost  all  with  whom  we  converse  so 
nearly  as  to  judge  of  their  sentiments,  indulging 
more  favourable  conceptions  of  their  own  virtue 
than  they  have  been  able  to  impress  upon  others, 
and  congratulating  themselves  upon  degrees  of  ex- 
cellence, which  their  fondest  admirers  cannot  allow 
them  to  have  attained. 

Those  representations  of  imaginary  virtue  are 
generally  considered  as  arts  of  hypocrisy,  and  as 
snares  laid  for  confidence  and  praise.  But  I  believe 
the  suspicion  often  unjust ;  those  who  thus  propagate 
their  own  reputation,  only  extend  the  fraud  by 
which  they  have  been  themselves  deceived ;  for  this 
failing  is  incident  to  numbers,  who  seem  to  live  with- 
out designs,  competitions,  or  pursuits ;  it  appears  on 
occasions  which  promise  no  accession  of  honour  or 
of  profit,  and  to  persons  from  whom  very  little  is  to 
be  hoped  or  feared.  It  is,  indeed,  not  easy  to  tell 
how  far  we  may  be  blinded  by  the  love  of  ourselves, 
when  we  reflect  how  much  a  secondary  passion  can 
cloud  our  judgment,  and  how  few  faults  a  man,  in 

NO.    28.  RAMBLER.  227 

the  first  raptures  of  love,  can  discover  in  the  person 
or  conduct  of  his  mistress. 

To  lay  open  all  the  sources  from  which  error 
flows  in  upon  him  who  contemplates  his  own  char- 
acter, would  require  more  exact  knowledge  of  the 
human  heart,  than,  perhaps,  the  most  acute  and 
laborious  observers  have  acquired.  And  since 
falsehood  may  be  diversified  without  end,  it  is  not 
unlikely  that  every  man  admits  an  imposture  in 
some  respect  peculiar  to  himself,  as  his  views  have 
been  accidentally  directed,  or  his  ideas  particularly 

Some  fallacies,  however,  there  are,  more  fre- 
quently insidious,  which  it  may,  perhaps,  not  be 
useless  to  detect,  because,  though  they  are  gross, 
they  may  be  fatal,  and  because  nothing  but  atten- 
tion is  necessary  to  defeat  them. 

One  sophism  by  which  men  persuade  themselves 
that  they  have  those  virtues  which  they  really  want, 
is  formed  by  the  substitution  of  single  acts  for  hab- 
its. A  miser  who  once  relieved  a  friend  from  the 
danger  of  a  prison,  suffers  his  imagination  to  dwell 
forever  upon  his  own  heroic  generosity ;  he  yields 
his  heart  up  to  indignation  at  those  who  are  blind 
to  merit  or  insensible  to  misery,  and  who  can  please 
themselves  with  the  enjoyment  of  that  wealth  which 
they  never  permit  others  to  partake.  From  any 
censures  of  the  world,  or  reproaches  of  his  con- 
science, he  has  an  appeal  to  action  and  to  knowledge  ; 
and  though  his  whole  life  is  a  course  of  rapacity  and 
avarice,  he  concludes  himself  to  be  tender  and 
liberal,  because  he  has  once  performed  an  act  of 
liberality  and  tenderness. 

As  a  glass  whicli  magnifies  objects  by  the  ap- 
proach of  one  end  to  the  eye,  lessens  them  by  the 
application  of  the  other ;  so  vices  are  extenuated  by 

228  RAMBLER.  NO.   28. 

the  inversion  of  that  fallacy,  by  which  virtues  are 
augmented.  Those  faults  which  we  cannot  conceal 
from  our  own  notice,  are  considered,  however  fre- 
quent, not  as  habitual  corruptions  or  settled  prac- 
tices, but  as  casual  failures,  and  single  lapses.  A 
man  who  has,  from  year  to  year,  set  his  country  to 
sale,  either  for  the  gratification  of  his  ambition  or 
resentment,  confesses  that  the  heat  of  party  now  and 
then  betrays  the  severest  virtue  to  measures  that 
cannot  be  seriously  defended.  He  that  spends  his 
days  and  night  in  riot  and  debauchery,  owns  that 
his  passions  oftentimes  overpower  his  resolution. 
But  each  comforts  himself  that  his  faults  are  not 
without  precedent,  for  the  best  and  the  wisest  men 
have  given  way  to  the  violence  of  sudden  tempta- 

There  are  men  who  always  confound  the  praise 
of  goodness  with  the  practice,  and  who  believe 
themselves  mild  and  moderate,  charitable  and  faith- 
ful, because  they  have  exerted  their  eloquence  in 
commendation  of  mildness,  fidelity,  and  other  vir- 
tues. This  is  an  error  almost  universal  among  those 
that  converse  much  with  dependents,  with  such 
whose  fear  or  interest  disposes  them  to  a  seeming 
reverence  for  any  declamation,  however  enthusiastic, 
and  submission  to  any  boast,  however  arrogant. 
Having  none  to  recall  their  attention  to  their  lives, 
they  rate  themselves  by  the  goodness  of  their  opin- 
ions, and  forget  how  much  more  easily  men  may 
show  their  virtue  in  their  talk  than  in  their  actions. 

The  tribe  is  likewise  very  numerous  of  those  who 
regulate  their  lives,  not  by  the  standard  of  religion, 
but  the  measure  of  other  men's  virtue  ;  who  lull  their 
own  remorse  with  the  remembrance  of  crimes  more 
atrocious  than  their  own,  and  seem  to  believe  that 
they  are  not  bad  while  another  can  be  found  worse. 

NO.   28.  RAMBLER.  229 

For  escaping  these  and  a  thousand  other  deceits, 
many  expedients  have  been  proposed.  Some  have 
recommended  the  frequent  consuUation  of  a  wise 
friend,  admitted  to  intimacy,  and  encouraged  to 
sincerity.  But  this  appears  a  remedy  by  no  means 
adapted  to  general  use:  for  in  order  to  secure  the 
virtue  of  one,  it  presupposes  more  virtue  in  two  than 
will  generally  be  found.  In  the  first,  such  a  desn^e 
of  rectitude  and  amendment,  as  may  incline  him  to 
hear  his  own  accusation  from  the  mouth  of  him  whom 
he  esteems,  and  by  whom,  therefore,  he  will  always 
hope  that  his  faults  are  not  discovered ;  and  m  the 
second,  such  zeal  and  honesty,  as  will  make  him 
content  for  his  friend's  advantage  to  lose  his  kind- 

A  long  life  may  be  passed  without  finding  a  friend 
in  whose"  understanding  and  virtue  we  can  equally 
confide,  and  whose  opinion  we  can  value  at  once  for 
its  justness  and  sincerity.  A  weak  man,  however 
honest,  is  not  qualified  to  judge.  A  man  of  the 
world,  however  penetrating,  is  not  fit  to  counsel. 
Friends  are  often  chosen  for  similitude  of  manners, 
and  therefore  each  palliates  the  other's  failings,  be- 
cause they  are  his  own.  Friends  are  tender,  and 
unwilling  to  give  pain,  or  they  are  interested,  and 
fearful  to  offend. 

These  objections  have  inclined  others  to  advise, 
that  he  who  would  know  himself,  should  consult  his 
enemies,  remember  the  reproaches  that  are  vented 
to  his  face,  and  listen  for  the  censures  that  are  ut- 
tered in  private.  For  his  great  business  is  to  know 
his  fauhs,  and  those  malignity  will  discover,  and 
resentment  will  reveal.  But  this  precept  may  be 
often  frustrated ;  for  it  seldom  happens  that  rivals  or 
opponents  are  suffered  to  come  near  enough  to  know 
our  conduct  with  so  much  exactness  as  that  con- 


RAMBLER.  NO.   28. 

science  should  aOow  and  reflect  the  accusation.  The 
charge  of  an  enemy  is  often  totally  false,  and  com- 
monly so  mingled  with  falsehood,  that  the  mind 
takes  advantage  from  the  failure  of  one  part  to  dis- 
credit the  rest,  and  never  suffers  any  disturbance 
afterward  from  such  partial  reports. 

Yet  it  seems  that  enemies  have  been  always  found 
by  experience  the  most  faithful  monitors  ;  for  adver- 
sity has  ever  been  considered  as  the  state  in  which 
a  man  most  easily  becomes  acquainted  with  him- 
self, and  this  etfect  it  must  produce  by  withdrawing 
flatterers,  whose  business  it  is  to  hide  our  weak- 
nesses from  us,  or  by  giving  loose  to  mahce,  and 
license  to  reproach ;  or  at  least  by  cutting  off  those 
pleasures  which  called  us  away  from  meditation 
on  our  conduct,  and  repressing  that  pride  which 
too  easily  persuades  us,  that  we  merit  whatever  we 

Part  of  these  benefits  it  is  in  every  man's  power 
to  procure  to  himself,  by  assigning  proper  portions 
of  his  life  to  the  examination  of  the  rest,  and  by 
putting  himself  frequently  in  such  a  situation  by 
retirement  and  abstraction,  as  may  weaken  the 
influence  of  external  objects.  By  this  practice,  he 
may  obtain  the  solitude  of  adversity  without  its 
melancholy,  its  instructions  without  its  censures,  and 
its  sensibility  without  its  perturbations. 

The  necessity  of  setting  the  world  at  a  distance 
from  us,  when  we  are  to  take  a  survey  of  ourselves, 
has  sent  many  from  high  stations  to  the  severities  of 
a  monastic  life ;  and  indeed,  every  man  deeply  en- 
gaged in  business,  if  all  regard  to  another  state  be 
not  extinguished,  must  have  the  conviction,  though, 
perhaps,  not  the  resolution  of  Valdesso,  who,  when 
he  solicited  Charles  the  Fifth  to  dismiss  him,  being 
asked,  whether  he   retired  upon  disgust,  answered 

NO.   28.  RAMBLER.  231 

that  he  laid  down  his  commission  for  no  other  rea- 
son but  because  there  ought  to  be  some  time  for 
sober  reflection  between  the  life  of  a  soldier  and  his 

There  are  few  conditions  which  do  not  entangle 
us  with  sublunary  hopes  and  fears,  from  which  it  is 
necessary  to  be  at  intervals  disincumbered,  that 
we  may  place  ourselves  in  his  presence  who  views 
effects  in  their  causes,  and  actions  in  their  motives ; 
that  we  may,  as  Chillingworth  expresses  it,  consider 
things  as  if  there  were  no  other  beings  in  the  world 
but  God  and  ourselves ;  or,  to  use  language  yet 
more  awful,  may  '  commune  with  our  own  hearts, 
and  be  still.' 

Death,  says  Seneca,  falls  heavy  upon  him  who  is 
too  much  known  to  others,  and  too  little  to  himself; 
and  Pontanus,  a  man  celebrated  among  the  early 
restorers  of  literature,  thought  the  study  of  our  own 
hearts  of  so  much  importance,  that  he  has  recom- 
mended it  from  his  tomb.  Sum  Joannes  Jovianus 
Pontanus,  quern  amaveruM  honce  imiscE,  suspexerunt 
viri  prohi,  honestaverunt  reges  domini  ;  jam  sets  qui 
Sim,  vel  qui  potius  fuerim  ;  ego  vero  te,  hospes,  noscere 
in  tenehris  nequeo,  sed  teipsum  ut  noscas  rogo.  '  I 
am  Pontanus,  beloved  by  the  powers  of  literature, 
admired  by  men  of  worth,  and  dignified  by  the  mon- 
archs  of  the  world.  Thou  knowest  now  who  I  am, 
or  more  properly,  who  I  was.  For  thee,  stranger,  I 
who  am  in  darkness  cannot  know  thee,  but  I  entreat 
thee  to  know  thyself.' 

I  hope  every  reader  of  this  paper  will  consider 
himself  as  engaged  to  the  observation  of  a  precept, 
which  the  wisdom  and  virtue  of  all  ages  have  con- 
curred to  enforce,  a  precept  dictated  by  philosophers, 
inculcated  by  poets,  and  ratified  by  saints. 

232  RAMBLER.  NO.    29- 

No.  29.     TUESDAY,  JUNE  26,  1750. 

Prudens  futuri  temporis  exitum 
CaUginosa  node  pr emit  deus, 
Rkleique,  si  mortalis  ultra 

Fas  trepidat. —  HOR.  CAR.  iii.  29.  29. 

But  God  has  wisely  hid  from  human  sight 
The  dark  decrees  of  future  fate, 

And  sown  their  seeds  in  depth  of  night; 
He  laughs  at  all  the  giddy  turns  of  state, 
When  mortals  search  too  soon,  and  fear  too  late. 


There  is  nothing  recommended  with  greater 
frequency  among  the  gayer  poets  of  antiquity,  than 
the  secure  possession  of  the  present  hour,  and  the 
dismission  of  all  the  cares  which  intrude  upon  our 
quiet,  or  hinder,  by  importunate  perturbations,  the 
enjoyment  of  those  delights  which  our  condition 
happens  to  set  before  us. 

The  ancient  poets  are,  indeed,  by  no  means  mi- 
exceptionable  teachers  of  morality ;  their  precepts 
are  to  be  always  considered  as  the  sallies  of  a  genius, 
intent  rather  upon  giving  pleasure  than  instruction, 
eager  to  take  every  advantage  of  insinuation,  and, 
provided  the  passions  can  be  engaged  on  its  side, 
very  little  solicitous  about  the  suffrage  of  reason. 

The  darkness  and  uncertainty  through  which  the 
heathens  were  compelled  to  wander  in  the  pursuit 
of  happiness,  may,  indeed,  be  alleged  as  an  excuse 
for  many  of  their  seducing  invitations  to  immediate 
enjoyment,  which  the  moderns,  by  whom  they  have 
been  imitated,  have  not  to  plead.     It  is  no  wonder 

NO.   29.  RAMBLER.  233 

that  such  as  had  no  promise  of  another  state  should 
eagerly  turn  their  thoughts  upon  the  improvement 
of  that  which  was  before  them ;  but  surely  those 
who  are  acquainted  with  the  hopes  and  fears  of 
eternity,  might  think  it  necessary  to  put  some 
restraint  upon  their  imagination,  and  reflect  that  by 
echoing  the  songs  of  the  ancient  bachanals,  and 
transmitting  the  maxims  of  past  debauchery,  they 
not  only  prove  that  they  want  invention,  but  virtue, 
and  submit  to  the  servility  of  imitation  only  to  copy 
that  of  which  the  writer,  if  he  was  to  live  now, 
would  often  be  ashamed. 

Yet  as  the  errors  and  follies  of  a  c^reat  o^enius 
are  seldom  without  some  radiations  of  understand- 
ing, by  which  meaner  minds  may  be  enlightened, 
the  incitements  to  pleasure  are,  in  those  authors, 
generally  mingled  with  such  reflections  upon  life, 
as  well  deserve  to  be  considered  distinctly  from  the 
purposes  for  which  they  are  produced,  and  to  be 
treasured  up  as  the  settled  conclusions  of  extensive 
observation,  acute  sagacity,  and  mature  experience. 

It  is  not  without  true  judgment,  that  on  these  oc- 
casions, they  often  warn  their  readers  against  in- 
quiries into  futurity,  and  solicitude  about  events 
which  lie  hid  in  causes  yet  unactive,  and  which  time 
has  not  brought  forward  into  the  view  of  reason. 
An  idle  and  thoughtless  resignation  to  chance,  with- 
out any  struggle  against  calamity,  or  endeavour 
after  advantage,  is,  indeed,  below  the  dignity  of  a 
reasonable  being,  in  whose  power  Providence  has 
put  a  great  part  even  of  his  present  happiness  ;  but 
it  shows  an  equal  ignorance  of  our  proper  sphere, 
to  harass  our  thoughts  with  conjectures  about  things 
not  yet  in  being.  How  can  we  regulate  events,  of 
which  we  yet  know  not  whether  they  will  ever 
happen  ?     And  why  should  we   think,  with  painful 

234  RAMBLER.  NO.    29. 

anxiety,  about  that  on  which  our  thoughts  can  have 
no  influence  ? 

It  is  a  maxim  commonly  received,  that  a  wise 
man  is  never  surprised  ;  and,  perhaps,  this  exemption 
from  astonishment  may  be  imagined  to  proceed  from 
such  a  prospect  into  futurity,  as  gave  previous  inti- 
mation of  those  evils  which  often  fall  unexpected 
upon  others  that  have  less  foresight.  But  the  truth 
is,  that  things  to  come,  except  when  they  approach 
very  nearly,  are  equally  hidden  from  men  of  all  de- 
grees of  understanding ;  and  if  a  wise  man  is  not 
amazed  at  sudden  occurrences,  it  is  not  that  he  has 
thought  more,  but  less  upon  futurity.  He  never 
considered  things  not  yet  existing  as  the  proper  ob- 
jects of  his  attention  ;  he  never  indulged  dreams  till 
he  was  deceived  by  their  phantoms,  nor  ever  real- 
ized nonentities  to  his  mind.  He  is  not  surprised 
because  he  is  not  disappointed,  and  he  escapes 
disappointment  because  he  never  forms  any  ex- 

The  concerns  about  things  to  come,  that  is  so 
justly  censured,  is  not  the  result  of  those  general 
reflections  on  the  variableness  of  fortune,  the  uncer- 
tainty of  life,  and  the  universal  insecurity  of  all 
human  acquisitions,  which  must  always  be  suggested 
by  the  view  of  the  world ;  but  such  a  desponding 
anticipation  of  misfortune,  as  fixes  the  mind  upon 
scenes  of  gloom  and  melancholy,  and  makes  fear 
predominate  in  every  imagination. 

Anxiety  of  this  kind  is  nearly  of  the  same  nature 
wath  jealousy  in  love,  and  suspicion  in  the  general 
commerce  of  life ;  a  temper  which  keeps  the  man 
always  in  alarms,  disposes  him  to  judge  of  every 
thing  in  a  manner  that  least  favours  his  own  quiet, 
fills  him  with  perpetual  stratagems  of  counteraction, 
wears  him  out  in  schemes  to  obviate  evils  which 

NO.    29.  RAMBLER.  235 

never  threatened  him,  and  at  length,  perhaps,  con- 
tributes to  the  production  of  those  mischiefs  of  which 
it  had  raised  such  dreadful  apprehensions. 

It  has  been  usual  in  all  ages  for  moralists  to  re- 
press the  swellings  of  vaiu  hope,  by  representations 
of  the  innumerable  casualties  to  which  life  is  subject, 
and  by  instances  of  the  unexpected  defeat  of  the 
wisest  schemes  of  policy,  and  sudden  subversions  of 
the  highest  eminences  of  greatness.  It  has,  per- 
haps, not  been  equally  observed,  that  all  these 
examples  afford  the  proper  antidote  to  fear  as  well 
as  to  hope,  and  may  be  applied  with  no  less  efficacy 
as  consolations  to  the  timorous,  than  as  restraints  to 
the  proud. 

Evil  is  uncertain  in  the  same  degree  as  good,  and 
for  the  reason  that  we  ought  not  to  hope  too  se- 
curely, we  ought  not  to  fear  with  too  much  dejection. 
The  state  of  the  world  is  continually  changing,  and 
none  can  tell  the  result  of  the  next  vicissitude. 
Whatever  is  afloat  in  the  stream  of  time,  may,  when 
it  is  very  near  us,  be  driven  away  by  an  accidental 
blast,  which  shall  happen  to  cross  the  general  course 
of  the  current.  The  sudden  accidents  by  which  the 
powerful  are  depressed,  may  fall  upon  those  whose 
malice  w^e  fear;  and  the  greatness  by  which  we  ex- 
pect to  be  overborne,  may  become  another  proof  of 
the  false  flatteries  of  fortune.  Our  enemies  may 
become  weak,  or  we  grow  strong,  before  our  en- 
counter, or  we  may  advance  against  each  other 
without  ever  meeting.  There  are,  indeed,  natural 
evils  which  we  can  flatter  ourselves  with  no  hopes 
of  escaping,  and  with  little  of  delaying;  but  of  the 
ills  which  are  apprehended  from  human  malignity, 
or  tlie  opposition  of  rival  interests,  we  may  always 
alleviate  the  terror  by  considering  that  our  perse- 
cutors are  weak  and  i<jnorant,  and  mortal  like 

236  RAMBLER.  NO.    29. 

The  misfortunes  which  arise  from  the  concurrence 
of  unhappy  incidents  should  never  be  suffered  to 
disturb  us  before  they  happen;  because,  if  the  breast 
be  once  laid  open  to  the  dread  of  mere  possibilities 
of  misery,  life  must  be  given  a  prey  to  dismal  solici- 
tude, and  quiet  must  be  lost  forever. 

It  is  remarked  by  old  Cornaro,  that  it  is  absurd 
to  be  afraid  of  the  natural  dissolution  of  the  body, 
because  it  must  certainly  happen,  and  can,  by  no 
caution  or  artifice,  be  avoided.  Whether  this  senti- 
ment be  entirely  just,  I  shall  not  examine;  but  cer- 
tainly if  it  be  improper  to  fear  events  which  must 
happen,  it  is  yet  more  evidently  contrary  to  right 
reason  to  fear  those  which  may  never  happen, 
and  which,  if  they  should  come  upon  us,  we  cannot 

As  we  ought  not  to  give  way  to  fear  any  more 
than  indulgence  to  hope,  because  the  objects  both 
of  fear  and  hope  are  yet  uncertain,  so  we  ought  not 
to  trust  the  representations  of  one  more  than  of  the 
other,  because  they  are  both  equally  fallacious  ;  as 
hope  enlarges  happiness,  fear  aggravates  calamity. 
It  is  generally  allowed,  that  no  man  ever  found  the 
happiness  of  possession  proportionate  to  that  expec- 
tation which  incited  his  desire,  and  invigorated  his 
pursuit ;  nor  has  any  man  found  the  evils  of  life  so 
formidable  in  reality  as  they  were  described  to  him 
by  his  own  imagination ;  every  species  of  distress 
brings  with  it  some  peculiar  supports,  some  unfore- 
seen means  of  resisting,  or  power  of  enduring. 
Taylor  justly  blames  some  pious  persons,  who  in- 
dulge their  fancies  too  much,  set  themselves,  by  the 
force  of  imagination,  in  the  place  of  the  ancient 
martyrs  and  confessors,  and  question  the  validity  of 
their  own  faith  because  they  shrink  at  the  thoughts 
of  flames  and  tortures.     "  It  is,"  says  he,  "  sufficient 

NO.    30.  RAMBLER.  237 

that  you  are  able  to  encounter  the  temptations  which 
now  assault  you ;  when  God  sends  trials,  he  may 
send  strength." 

All  fear  is  in  itself  painful ;  and  when  it  conduces 
not  to  safety  is  painful  without  use.  Every  con- 
sideration, therefore,  by  which  groundless  terrors 
may  be  removed,  adds  something  to  human  happi- 
ness. It  is  likewise  not  unworthy  of  remark,  that, 
in  proportion  as  our  cares  are  employed  upon  the 
future,  they  are  abstracted  from  the  present,  from 
the  only  time  which  we  can  call  our  own,  and  of 
which,  if  w^e  neglect  the  apparent  duties,  to  make 
provision  against  visionary  attacks,  we  shall  cer- 
tainly counteract  our  own  purpose  ;  for  he,  doubtless, 
mistakes  his  true  interest,  who  thinks  that  he  can 
increase  his  safety  when  he  impairs  his  virtue. 

No.  30.     SATURDAY,  JUNE  30,  1750. 

—  Vultus  itbl  tuus 
Affuhit  pojmlo,  gratior  it  dies, 
Et  soles  melius  nitent.  HOR.  CAK.  v.  5.  6. 

Whene'er  thy  countenance  divine 

Th'  attendant  people  cheers, 
The  genial  suns  more  radiant  shine, 

The  day  more  glad  appears.  elphinstox. 

"  Mil.    RAMBLER, 

"  Thkre  are  few  tasks  more  ungrateful,  than  for 
persons  of  modesty  to  speak  their  own  praises.     In 

238  RAMBLER.  NO.    30. 

some  cases,  however,  this  must  be  done  for  the  gen- 
eral good,  and  a  generous  spirit  will  on  such  occa- 
sions assert  its  merit,  and  vindicate  itself  with 
becomino;  warmth. 

"  My  circumstances,  Sir,  are  very  hard  and  pe- 
culiar. Could  the  world  be  brought  to  treat  me  as 
I  deserve,  it  would  be  a  iDublic  benefit.  This  makes 
me  apply  to  you,  that  my  case  being  fairly  stated  in 
a  paper  so  generally  esteemed.  I  may  suffer  no 
longer  from  ignorant  and  childish  prejudices. 

"  My  elder  brother  was  a  Jew.  A  very  respect- 
able person,  but  somewhat  austere  in  his  manner ; 
highly  and  deservedly  valued  by  his  near  relations 
and  intimates,  but  utterly  unfit  for  mixing  in  a  larger 
society,  or  gaining  a  general  acquaintance  among 
mankind.  In  a  venerable  old  age  he  retired  from 
the  world,  and  I,  in  the  bloom  of  youth,  came  into 
it,  succeeding  him  in  all  his  dignities,  and  formed, 
as  I  might  reasonably  flatter  myself,  to  be  the  ob- 
ject of  universal  love  and  esteem.  Joy  and  gladness 
were  born  with  me ;  cheerfulness,  good-humour,  and 
benevolence,  always  attended  and  endeared  my  in- 
fancy. That  time  is  long  past.  So  long,  that  idle 
imaginations  are  apt  to  fancy  me  wrinkled,  old,  and 
disagreeable ;  but,  unless  my  looking-glass  deceives 
me,  I  have  not  yet  lost  one  charm,  one  beauty  of 
my  earliest  years.  However,  thus  far  is  too  certain, 
I  am  to  everybody  just  what  they  choose  to  think 
me,  so  that  to  very  few  I  appear  in  my  right  shape  ; 
and  though  naturally  I  am  the  friend  of  human  kind, 
to  few,  very  few,  comparatively,  am  I  useful  or 

"  This  is  the  more  grievous,  as  it  is  utterly  im- 
possible for  me  to  avoid  being  in  all  sorts  of  places 
and  companies ;  and  I  am,  therefore,  liable  to  meet 
with  perpetual    affronts    and    injuries.      Though  I 

NO.    30.  RAMBLER.  239 

have  as  natural  an  antipathy  to  cards  and  dice,  as 
some  people  have  to  a  cat,  many  and  many  an  as- 
sembly am  I  forced  to  endure ;  and  though  rest  and 
composure  are  my  peculiar  joy,  am  worn  out  and 
harassed  to  death  with  journeys  by  men  and  women 
of  quality,  who  never  take  one  but  when  I  can  be 
of  the  party.  Some,  on  a  contrary  extreme,  will 
never  receive  me  but  in  bed,  where  they  spend  at 
least  half  of  the  time  I  have  to  stay  with  them ;  and 
others  are  so  monstrously  ill-bred  as  to  take  physic 
on  purpose  when  they  have  reason  to  expect  me. 
Those  who  keep  upon  terms  of  more  politeness  with 
me,  are  generally  so  cold  and  constrained  in  their 
behaviour,  that  I  cannot  but  perceive  myself  an  un- 
welcome guest ;  and  even  among  persons  deserving 
of  my  esteem,  and  who  certainly  have  a  value  for 
me,  it  is  too  evident  that  generally,  whenever  I  come, 
I  throw  a  dulness  over  the  whole  company,  that  I 
am  entertained  with  a  formal  stiff  civility,  and  that 
they  are  glad  when  I  am  fairly  gone. 

"  How  bitter  must  this  kind  of  reception  be  to 
one  formed  to  inspire  delight,  admiration,  and  love ! 
To  one  capable  of  answering  and  rewarding  the 
greatest  warmth  and  delicacy  of  sentiments  ! 

"  I  was  bred  up  among  a  set  of  excellent  people, 
who  affectionately  loved  me,  and  treated  me  with 
the  utmost  honour  and  respect.  It  would  be  tedious 
to  relate  the  variety  of  my  adventures,  and  strange 
vicissitudes  of  my  fortune,  in  many  different  coun- 
tries. Here  in  England  there  was  a  time  when  I 
lived  according  to  my  heart's  desire.  Whenever  I 
appeared,  public  assemblies  appointed  for  my  recep- 
tion were  crowded  with  persons  of  quality  and  fash- 
ion, early  dressed  as  for  a  court,  to  pay  me  their 
devoirs.  Cheerful  hospitality  everywhere  crowned 
my  board,  and  I  was  looked  upon  in  every  country 

240  RAMBLER.  NO.   30. 

parish  as  a  kind  of  social  bond  between  the  squire, 
the  parson,  and  the  tenants.  The  laborious  poor 
everywhere  blest  my  appearance :  they  do  so  still, 
and  keep  their  best  clothes  to  do  me  honour  ;  though 
as  much  as  I  delight  in  the  honest  country  folks, 
they  do  now  and  then  throw  a  pot  of  ale  at  my  head, 
and  sometimes  an  unlucky  boy  will  drive  his  cricket- 
ball  fiill  in  my  face. 

"  Even  in  these  my  best  days  there  were  persons 
who  thought  me  too  demure  and  grave.  I  must, 
forsooth,  by  all  means  be  instructed  by  foreign 
masters,  and  taught  to  dance  and  play.  This 
method  of  education  was  so  contrary  to  my  genius, 
formed  for  much  nobler  entertainments,  that  it  did 
not  succeed  at  all. 

"  I  fell  next  into  the  hands  of  a  very  different  set. 
They  were  so  excessively  scandalized  at  the  gayety 
of  ray  appearance,  as  not  only  to  despoil  me  of  the 
foreign  fopperies,  the  paint  and  the  patches  that  I 
had  been  tricked  out  with  by  my  last  misjudging 
tutors,  but  they  robbed  me  of  every  innocent  orna- 
ment I  had  from  my  infancy  been  used  to  gather  in 
the  fields  and  gardens ;  nay,  they  blacked  my  face, 
and  covered  me  all  over  with  a  habit  of  mourning, 
and  that  too  very  coarse  and  awkward.  I  was  now 
obliged  to  spend  my  whole  life  in  hearing  sermons, 
nor  permitted  so  much  as  to  smile  upon  any  occa- 

"  In  this  melancholy  disguise  I  became  a  perfect 
bugbear  to  all  children  and  young  folks.  Wherever 
I  came  there  was  a  general  hush,  an  immediate  stop 
to  all  pleasantries  of  look  or  discourse  ;  and  not  being 
permitted  to  talk  with  them  in  my  own  language  at 
that  time,  they  took  such  a  disgust  to  me  in  those 
tedious  hours  of  yawning,  that  having  transmitted  it 
to  their  children,  I  cannot  now  be  heard,  though  it 

NO.  30.  RAMBLER.  241 

is  long;  since  I  have  recovered  my  natural  form,  and 
pleasing  tone  of  voice.  "Would  they  but  receive  my 
visits  kindly,  and  listen  to  what  I  could  tell  them — 
let  me  say  it  without  vanity — how  charming  a  com- 
panion should  I  be  !  to  every  one  could  I  talk  on  the 
subjects  most  interesting  and  most  pleasing.  With, 
the  great  and  ambitious,  I  would  discourse  of  hon- 
ours and  advancements,  of  distinctions  to  which  the 
whole  world  should  be  witness,  of  unenvied  dignities 
and  durable  preferments.  To  the  rich,  I  would  tell 
of  inexhaustible  treasures,  and  the  sure  method  to 
attain  them.  I  would  teach  them  to  put  out  their 
money  on  the  best  interest,  and  instruct  the  lovers 
of  pleasure  how  to  secure  and  improve  it  to  the 
highest  deg^ree.  The  beautv  should  learn  of  me  how 
to  preserve  an  everlasting  bloom.  To  the  afflicted 
I  would  administer  comfort,  and  relaxation  to  the 

"  As  I  dare  promise  myself  you  will  attest  the 
truth  of  all  I  have  advanced,  there  is  no  doubt  but 
many  will  be  desirous  of  improving  their  acquaint- 
ance with  me ;  and  that  I  may  not  be  thought  too 
difficult,  I  wdll  tell  you,  in  short,  how  I  wish  to  be 

"  You  must  know  I  equally  hate  lazy  idleness  and 
hurry.  I  would  everywhere  be  welcomed  at  a  toler- 
ably early  hour  with  decent  good-humour  and  grat- 
itude. I  must  be  attended  in  the  great  halls 
peculiarly  appropriated  to  me  with  respect ;  but  I 
do  not  insist  upon  finery:  propriety  of  appearance 
and  perfect  neatness  is  all  I  require.  I  must  at 
dinner  be  treated  with  a  temperate,  but  cheerful 
social  meal ;  both  the  neighbours  and  the  poor  should 
be  the  better  for  me.  Sometime  I  must  have  tete- 
a-tete  with  my  kind  entertainers,  and  the  rest  of  my 
visit  should  be  spent  in  pleasant  walks  and  airings 

VOL.    XVL  16 

242  RAMBLER.  NO.   31. 

among  sets  of  agreeable  people,  in  such  discourse 
as  I  shall  naturally  dictate,  or  in  reading  some  few- 
selected  out  of  those  numberless  books  that  are 
dedicated  to  me,  and  go  by  my  name.  A  name  that, 
alas !  as  the  world  stands  at  present,  makes  them 
oftener  thrown  aside  than  taken.  As  those  con- 
versations and  books  should  be  both  well  chosen,  to 
give  some  advice  on  that  head  may  possibly  furnish 
you  with  a  future  paper,  and  any  thing  you  shall 
offer  on  my  behalf  will  be  of  great  service  to, 
"  Good  Mr.  Rambler, 
"  Your  faithful  Friend  and  Servant, 

"  Sunday." 

No.  31.     TUESDAY,  JULY  3,  1750. 

Non  ego  mendosos  ausim  defendere  mores, 
Falsaque  pro  vitiis  arma  tenere  meis. 

Corrupted  manners  I  shall  ne'er  defend, 
Nor,  falsely  witty,  for  my  faults  contend. 



Though  the  fallibility  of  man's  reason,  and  the 
narrowness  of  his  knowledge,  are  very  liberally 
confessed,  yet  the  conduct  of  those  who  so  willingly 
admit  the  weakness  of  human  nature,  seems  to  dis- 
cover that  this  acknowledgment  is  not  altogether 
sincere ;  at  least,  that  most  make  it  with  a  tacit 
reserve  in  favour  of  themselves,  and  that,  with 
whatever  ease  they  give  up  the  claim  of  their 
neighbours,  they  are  desirous  of  being  thought  ex- 

NO.    31.  RAMBLER.  243 

empt  from  faults  in  their  own  conduct,  and  from 
error  in  their  opinions. 

The  certain  and  obstinate  opposition,  which  we 
may  observe  made  to  confutation  however  clear, 
and  to  reproof  however  tender,  is  an  undoubted 
argument,  that  some  dormant  privilege  is  thought  to 
be  attacked ;  for  as  no  man  can  lose  what  he  neither 
possesses,  nor  imagines  himself  to  possess,  or  be  de- 
frauded of  that  to  which  he  has  no  right,  it  is  rea- 
sonable to  suppose  that  those  who  break  out  into 
fury  at  the  softest  contradiction,  or  the  slightest 
censure,  since  they  apparently  conclude  themselves 
injured,  must  fancy  some  ancient  immunity  violated, 
or  some  natural  prerogative  invaded.  To  be  mis- 
taken, if  they  thought  themselves  liable  to  mistake, 
could  not  be  considered  as  either  shameful  or  won- 
derful, and  they  would  not  receive  with  so  much 
emotion  intelligence  which  only  informed  them  of 
what  they  knew  before,  nor  struggle  with  such  earn- 
estness against  an  attack  that  deprived  them  of 
nothing  to  which  they  held  themselves  entitled. 

It  is  related  of  one  of  the  philosophers,  that  when 
an  account  was  brought  him  of  his  son's  death,  he 
received  it  only  with  this  reflection,  '  I  knew  that 
my  son  was  mortal.'  He  that  is  convinced  of  an 
error,  if  he  had  the  same  knowledge  of  his  own 
weakness,  would,  instead  of  straining  for  artifices, 
and  brooding  malignity,  only  regard  such  oversights 
as  the  appendages  of  humanity,  and  pacify  himself 
with  considering  that  he  had  always  known  man  to 
be  a  fallible  being. 

If  it  be  true  that  most  of  our  passions  are  excited 
by  the  novelty  of  objects,  there  is  little  reason  for 
doubting  that  to  be  considered  as  subject  to  faUacies 
of  ratiocination,  or  imperfection  of  knowledge,  is,  to 
a  great  part   of  mankind,  entirely   new  ;  for   it   is 

244  RAMBLER.  NO.    31. 

impossible  to  fall  into  any  company  where  there  is 
not  some  regular  and  established  subordination, 
without  finding  rage  and  vehemence  produced  only 
by  difference  of  sentiments  about  things  in  which 
neither  of  the  disputants  have  any  other  interest, 
than  what  proceeds  from  their  mutual  unwillingness 
to  give  way  to  any  opinion  that  may  bring  upon 
them  the  disgrace  of  being  wrong. 

I  have  heard  of  one  that,  having  advanced  some 
erroneous  doctrines  of  philosophy,  refused  to  see 
the  experiments  by  which  they  were  confuted :  and 
the  observation  of  every  day  will  give  new  proofs 
with  how  much  industry  subterfuges  and  evasions 
are  sought  to  decline  the  pressure  of  resistless  argu- 
ments, how  often  the  state  of  the  question  is  altered, 
how  often  the  antagonist  is  wilfully  misrepresented, 
and  in  how  much  perplexity  the  clearest  positions 
are  involved  by  those  whom  they  happen  to  oppose. 

Of  all  mortals  none  seem  to  have  been  more  in- 
fected with  this  species  of  vanity,  than  the  race  of 
writers,  whose  reputation  arising  solely  from  their 
understanding,  gives  them  a  very  delicate  sensibility 
of  any  violence  attempted  on  their  literary  honour. 
It  is  not  unpleasing  to  remark  with  what  solicitude 
men  of  acknowledged  abilities  will  endeavour  to 
palliate  absurdities  and  reconcile  contradictions,  only 
to  obviate  criticisms  to  which  all  human  perform- 
ances must  ever  be  exposed,  and  from  which  they 
can  never  suffer,  but  when  they  teach  the  world  by 
a  vain  and  ridiculous  impatience  to  think  them  of 

Dryden,  whose  warmth  of  fancy,  and  haste  of 
composition,  very  frequently  hurried  him  into  inac- 
curacies, heard   himself  sometimes  exposed  to  ridi- 
cule for  having  said  in  one  of  his  tragedies, 
I  follow  Me,  which  does  too  fast  pursue. 

NO.    31.  RAMBLER. 


That  no  man  could  at  once  follow  and  be  followed, 
was,  it  may  be  thought,  too  plain  to  be  long  dis- 
puted ;  and  the  truth  is,  that  Dryden  was  apparently 
betrayed  into  the  blunder  by  the  double  meaning  of 
the  word  Fate,  to  which  in  the  former  part  of  the 
verse  he  had  annexed  the  idea  of  Fortune,  and  in 
the  latter  that  of  Death ;  so  that  the  sense  only  was, 
'-  though  pursued  by  Death,  I  will  not  resign  my- 
self to  despair,  but  will  follow  Fortune,  and  do  and 
suffer  what  is  appointed."  This,  however,  was^  not 
completely  expressed,  and  Dryden,  being  determined 
not  to  give  way  to  his  critics,  never  confessed  that 
he  had  been  surprised  by  an  ambiguity ;  but  finding 
luckily  in  Virgil  an  account  of  a  man  moving  in  a 
circle,  with  this  expression,  Et  se  sequiturqiie  fugit- 
que,  "  Here,"  says  he,  "  is  the  passage  in  imitation 
of  which  I  wrote  the  line  that  my  critics  were  pleased 
to  condemn  as  nonsense  ;  not  but  I  may  sometimes 
write  nonsense,  though  they  have  not  the  fortune  to 
find  it." 

Every  one  sees  the  folly  of  such  mean  doublings 
to  escape  the  pursuit  of  criticism;  nor  is  there  a 
single  reader  of  this  poet  who  would  not  have  paid 
him  greater  veneration,  had  he  shown  consciousness 
enough  of  his  own  superiority  to  set  such  cavils  at 
defiance,  and  owned  that  he  sometimes  slipped  into 
errors  by  the  tumult  of  his  imagination,  and  the 
multitude  of  his  ideas. 

It  is  happy  when  this  temper  discovers  itself  only 
in  little  things,  which  may  be  right  or  wrong  with- 
out any  influence  on  the  virtue  or  happiness  of  man- 
kind. We  may,  with  very  little  inquietude,  see  a 
man  persist  in  a  project,  which  he  has  found  to  be 
impracticable,  live  in  an  inconvenient  house  because 
it  was  contrived  by  himself,  or  wear  a  coat  of  a 
particular  cut,  in  hopes  by  perseverance  to  bring  it 

246  RAMBLER. 

NO.    31. 

into  fashion.  These  are,  indeed,  follies,  but  they  are 
only  follies,  and,  however  wild  or  ridiculous,  can 
very  little  affect  others. 

But  such  pride,  once  indulged,  too  frequently 
operates  upon  more  important  objects,  and  inclines 
men  not  only  to  vindicate  their  errors,  but  their 
vices ;  to  persist  in  practices  which  their  own  hearts 
condemn,  only  lest  they  should  seem  to  feel  re- 
proaches, or  be  made  wiser  by  the  advice  of  others ; 
or  to  search  for  sophisms  tending  to  the  confusion 
of  all  principles,  and  the  evacuation  of  all  duties, 
that  they  may  not  appear  to  act  what  they  are  not 
able  to  defend. 

Let  every  man,  who  finds  vanity  so  far  predomi- 
nant as  to  betray  him  to  the  danger  of  this  last 
degree  of  corruption,  pause  a  moment  to  consider 
what  will  be  the  consequences  of  the  plea  which  he 
is  about  to  offer  for  a  practice  to  which  he  knows 
himself  not  led  at  first  by  reason,  but  impelled  by 
the  violence  of  desire,  surprised  by  the  suddenness 
of  passion,  or  seduced  by  the  soft  approaches  of 
temptation,  and  by  imperceptible  gradations  of  guilt. 
Let^  him  consider  what  he  is  going  to  commit  by 
forcing  his  understanding  to  patronize  those  appetites 
which  it  is  its  chief  business  to  hinder  and  reform.. 

The  cause  of  virtue  requires  so  little  art  to  defend 
it,  and  good  and  evil,  when  they  have  been  once 
shown,  are  so  easily  distinguished,  that  such  apolo- 
gists seldom  gain  proselytes  to  their  party,  nor  have 
their  fallacies  power  to  deceive  any  but  those  whose 
desires  have  clouded  their  discernment.  All  that 
the  best  faculties  thus  employed  can  perform,  is,  to 
persuade  the  hearers  that  the  man  is  hopeless  whom 
they  only  thought  vicious,  that  corruption  has  passed 
from  his  manners  to  his  principles,  that  all  endeav- 
ours for  his  recovery  are  without   prospect  of  sue- 

NO.    31.  RAMBLER.  247 

cess,  and  that  nothing  remains  but  to  avoid  him  as 
infectious,  or  hunt  liim  down  as  destructive. 

But  if  it  be  supposed  that  he  may  impose  on  his 
audience  by  partial  representations  of  consequences, 
intricate  deductions  of  remote  causes,  or  perplexed 
combinations  of  ideas,  which  having  various  relations 
appear  diflferent  as  viewed  on  diflf'erent  sides  ;  that 
he  may  sometimes  puzzle  the  weak  and  well-mean- 
ing, and  now  and  then  seduce,  by  the  admiration  of 
his  abilities,  a  young  mind  still  fluctuating  in  un- 
settled notions,  and  neither  fortified  by  instruction 
nor  enlightened  by  experience ;  yet  what  must  be 
the  event  of  such  a  triumph  ?  A  man  cannot  spend 
all  this  life  in  frolic:  age,  or  disease,  or  solitude,  will 
brino;  some  hours  of  serious  consideration,  and  it  will 
then  afibrd  no  comfort  to  think,  that  he  has  extended 
the  dominion  of  vice,  that  he  has  loaded  himself  with 
the  crime  of  others,  and  can  never  know  the  extent 
of  his  own  wickedness,  or  make  reparation  for  the 
mischief  that  he  has  caused.  There  is  not,  perhaps, 
in  all  the  stores  of  ideal  anguish,  a  thought  more 
painful  than  the  consciousness  of  having  propagated 
corruption  by  vitiating  principles,  of  having  not  only 
drawn  others  from  the  paths  of  virtue,  but  blocked 
up  the  way  by  which  they  should  return,  of  having 
blinded  them  to  every  beauty  but  the  paint  of  pleas- 
ure, and  deafened  them  to  every  call  but  the  allur- 
ing voice  of  the  syrens  of  destruction. 

There  is  yet  anotlier  danger  in  this  practice  ;  men 
who  cannot  deceive  others  are  very  often  successful 
in  deceiving  themselves ;  they  weave  their  sophistry 
till  their  own  reason  is  entangled,  and  repeat  their 
positions  till  they  are  credited  by  themselves ;  by 
often  contending  they  grow  sincere  in  the  cause,  and 
by  long  wishing  for  demonstrative  arguments,  tiiey 
at  last  bring   themselves   to  fancy  tluit   they  have 

248  EAMBLER. 

NO.   31. 

found  them.  Thej  are  then  at  the  uttermost  verge 
of  wickedness,  and  may  die  without  having  that 
light  rekindled  in  their  minds,  which  their  own  pride 
and  contumacy  have  extinguished. 

^  The  men  who  can  be  charged  with  fewest  failings, 
either  with  respect  to  abilities  or  virtue,  are  generally 
most  ready  to  allow  them  ;  for  not  to  dwell  on  things 
of  solemn  and  awful  consideration,  the  humihty  of 
confessors,  the  tears  of  saints,  and  the  dying  terrors 
of  persons  eminent  for  piety  and  innocence,  it  is  well 
known  that  Cc^sar  wrote  an  account  of  the  errors 
committed  by  him  in  his  Wars  of  Gaul,  and  that 
Hippocrates,  whose  name  is,  perhaps,  in  rational 
estimation  greater  than  Caesar's,  warned  posterity 
against  a  mistake  into  which  he  had  fallen.  '  So 
much,'  says  Celsus, '  does  the  open  and  artless  con- 
fession of  an  error  become  a  man,  conscious  that  he 
has  enough  remaining  to  support  his  character.' 

As  all  error  is  meanness,  it  is  incumbent  on  every 
man  who  consults  his  own  dignity,  to  retract  it  as 
soon  as  he  discovers  it,  without  fearing  any  censure 
so  much  as  that  of  his  own  mind.  As  justice  re- 
quires that  all  injuries  should  be  repaired,  it  is  the 
duty  of  him  who  has  seduced  others  by  bad  practices, 
or  false  notions,  to  endeavour  that  such  as  have 
adopted  his  errors  should  know  his  retraction,  and 
that  those  who  have  learned  vice  by  his  example, 
should,  by  his  example,  be  taught  amendment. 

NO.    32. 

RAMBLER.  249 

No.  32.     SATURDAY,  JULY  7,  1750. 

"Oacra  re  daifiovi^ac  Tvxatg  jSpoTol  akye'  exovcflv, 
'i2v  uv  fioipav  exv^,  Trpdug  (^ept,  ^rid'  ayavaKTEL  • 
'lua&at.  dh  npiiza  aa^oaov  dvvt). —  ptthag. 

Of  all  the  woes  that  load  the  mortal  state, 
Whate'er  thy  portion,  mildly  meet  thy  fate; 
'    But  ease  it  as  thou  canst.—  elphinston. 

So  large  a  part  of  human  life  passes  in  a  state 
contrary  to  our  natural  desires,  that  one  of  the  prin- 
cipal topics  of  moral  instruction  is  the  art  of  bearing 
calamities  ;  and  such  is  the  certainty  of  evil,  that  it 
is  the  duty  of  every  man  to  furnish  his  mind  with 
those  principles  that  may  enable  him  to  act  under  it 
with  decency  and  propriety. 

The  sect  of  ancient  philosophers,  that  boasted  to 
have  carried  this  necessary  science  to  the  highest 
perfection,  were  the  Stoics,  or  scholars  of  Zeno, 
whose  wild  enthusiastic  virtue  pretended  to  an  ex- 
emption from  the  sensibilities  of  unenlightened  mor- 
tals, and  who  proclaimed  themselves  exalted,  by  the 
doctrines  of  their  sect ;  above  the  reach  of  those 
miseries  which  imbitter  life  to  the  rest  of  the  world. 
They,  therefore,  removed  pain,  poverty,  loss  of 
friends,  exile,  and  violent  death,  from  the  catalogue 
of  evils ;  and  passed,  in  their  haughty  style,  a  kind 
of  irreversible  decree,  by  which  they  forbad  them 
to  be  counted  any  longer  among  the  objects  of  terror 
or  anxiety,  or  to  give  any  disturbance  to  the  tran- 
quillity of  a  wise  man 

250  RAMBLER. 

NO.    32. 

This  edict  was,  I  think,  not  universally  observed ; 
for  though  one  of  the  more  resolute,  when  he  was 
tortured  by  a  violent  disease,  cried  out,  that  let  pain 
harass  him  to  its  utmost  power,  it  should  never  force 
him  to  consider  it  as  other  than  indifferent  and  neu- 
tral ;  yet  all  had  not  stubbornness  to  hold  out  against 
their  senses  ;  for  a  weaker  pupil  of  Zeno  is  recorded 
to  have  confessed  In  the  anguish  of  the  gout,  that 
'  he  now  found  pain  to  be  an  evil.' 

It  may,  however,  be  questioned,  whether  these 
philosophers  can  be  very  properly  numbered  among 
the  teachers  of  patience ;  for  if  pain  be  not  an  evil, 
there  seems  no  instruction  requisite  how  it  may  be 
borne ;  and,  therefore,  when  they  endeavour  to  arm 
their  followers  with  arguments  against  it,  they  may 
be  thought  to  have  given  up  their  first  position.  But 
such  inconsistencies  are  to  be  expected  from  the 
greatest  understandings,  when  they  endeavour  to 
grow  eminent  by  singularity,  and  employ  their 
strength  in  establishing  opinions  opposite  to  nature. 

The  controversy  about  the  reality  of  external 
evils  is  now  at  an  end.  That  life  has  many  miseries, 
and  that  those  miseries  are  sometimes,  at  least,  equal 
to  all  the  powers  of  fortitude,  is  now  universally 
confessed ;  and,  therefore,  it  is  useful  to  consider  not 
only  how  we  may  escape  them,  but  by  what  means 
those,  which  either  the  accidents  of  affairs,  or  the 
infirmities  of  nature,  must  bring  upon  us,  may  be 
mitigated  and  lightened,  and  how  we  may  make 
those  hours  less  wretched,  which  the  condition  of 
our  present  existence  will  not  allow  to  be  very 

The  cure  for  the  greatest  part  of  human  miseries 
is  not  radical,  but  palliative.  Infelicity  is  involved 
in  corporal  nature,  and  interwoven  with  our  being ; 
all  attempts,  therefore,  to  decline  it  wholly  are  use- 

NO.    32.  RAMBLER.  251 

less  and  vain ;  the  armies  of  pain  send  their  arrows 
against  us  on  every  side,  the  choice  is  only  between 
those  which  are  more  or  less  sharp,  or  tinged  with 
poison  of  greater  or  less  malignity  ;  and  the  strongest 
armour  which  reason  can  supply,  will  only  blunt 
their  points,  but  cannot  repel  them. 

The  great  remedy  which  Heaven  has  put  in  our 
hands  is  patience,  by  which,  though  we  cannot  lessen 
the  torments  of  the  body,  we  can  in  a  great  measure 
preserve  the  peace  of  the  mind,  and  shall  suffer  only 
the  natural  and  genuine  force  of  an  evil,  without 
heightening  its  acrimony,  or  prolonging  its  effects. 

There  is,  indeed,  nothing  more  unsuitable  to  the 
nature  of  man  in  any  calamity  than  rage  and  turbu- 
lence, which,  without  examining  whether  they  are 
not  sometimes  impious,  are  at  least  always  offensive, 
and  incline  others  rather  to  hate  and  despise  than 
to  pity  and  assist  us.  If  what  we  suffer  has  been 
brought  upon  us  by  ourselves,  it  is  observed  by  an 
ancient  poet,  that  patience  is  eminently  our  duty, 
since  no  one  should  be  angry  at  feeling  that  which 
he  has  deserved. 

Leniter  ex  merito  quicquid  patiare  ferendum  est. 

Let  pain  deserved  without  complaint  be  borne. 

And  surely,  if  we  are  conscious  that  we  have  not 
contributed  to  our  own  sufferings,  if  punishment  falls 
upon  innocence,  or  disappointment  happens  to  in- 
dustry and  ])rudence,  patience,  whether  more  neces- 
sary or  not,  is  much  easier,  since  our  pain  is  then 
without  aggravation,  and  we  have  not  the  bitterness 
of  remorse  to  add  to  the  asperity  of  misfortune. 

In  those  evils  which  are  allotted  to  us  by  Provi- 
dence, such  as  deformity,  privation  of  any  of  the 
senses,  or  old  age,  it  is  always  to  be  remembered, 

252  RAMBLER.  NO.    32. 

that  impatience  can  have  no  present  effect,  but  to 
deprive  us  of  the  consolations  which  our  condition 
admits,  by  driving  away  from  us  those  by  whose 
conversation  or  advice  we  might  be  amused  or 
helped ;  and  that,  with  regard  to  futurity,  it  is  yet 
less  to  be  justified,  since,  without  lessening  the 
pain,  it  cuts  of  the  hope  of  that  reward  which  He, 
by  whom  it  is  inflicted,  will,  confer  upon  them  that 
bear  it  well. 

In  all  evils  which  admit  a  remedy,  impatience  is 
to  be  avoided,  because  it  wastes  that  time  and  atten- 
tion in  complaints,  that,  if  properly  applied,  might 
remove  the  cause.  Turenne,  among  the  acknow- 
ledgments which  he  used  to  pay  in  conversation  to 
the  memory  of  those  by  whom  he  had  been  in- 
structed in  the  art  of  war,  mentioned  one  with  hon- 
our, who  taught  him  not  to  spend  his  time  in 
regretting  any  mistake  which  he  had  made,  but 
to  set  himself  immediately  and  vigorously  to  re- 
pair it. 

Patience  and  submission  are  very  carefully  to  be 
distinguished  from  cowardice  and  indolence.  We 
are  not  to  repine,  but  we  may  lawfully  struggle  ;  for 
the  calamities  of  life,  like  the  necessities  of  nature, 
are  calls  to  labour  and  exercises  of  diligence.  When 
we  feel  any  pressure  of  distress,  we  are  not  to  con- 
clude that  we  can  only  obey  the  will  of  Heaven  by 
languishing  under  it,  any  more  than  when  we  per- 
ceive the  pain  of  thirst,  we  are  to  imagine  that  water 
is  prohibited.  Of  misfortune,  it  never  can  be  cer- 
tainly known  whether,  as  proceeding  from  the  hand 
of  God,  it  is  an  act  of  favour,  or  of  punishment :  but 
since  all  the  ordinary  dispensations  of  Providence 
are  to  be  interpreted  according  to  the  general  anal- 
ogy of  things,  we  may  conclude  that  we  have  a  right 
to  remove  one  inconvenience  as  well  as  another; 

NO.    32.  KAMBLER.  253 

that  we  are  only  to  take  care  lest  we  purchase  ease 
with  guilt ;  and  that  our  Maker's  purpose,  whether  of 
reward  or  severity,  will  be  answered  by  the  labours 
which  he  lays  us  under  the  necessity  of  performing. 

This  duty  is  not  more  difficult  in  any  state  thaa 
in  diseases  intensely  painful,  which  may  indeed 
suffer  such  exacerbations  as  seem  to  strain  the 
powers  of  life  to  their  utmost  stretch,  and  leave  very 
little  of  the  attention  vacant  to  precept  or  reproof. 
In  this  state  the  nature  of  man  requires  some  indul- 
gence, and  every  extravagance  but  impiety  may  be 
easily  forgiven  him.  Yet,  lest  we  should  think  our- 
selves too  soon  entitled  to  the  mournful  privileges 
of  irresistible  misery,  it  is  proper  to  reflect  that  the 
utmost  anguish  which  human  wit  can  contrive,  or 
human  malice  can  inflict,  has  been  borne  with  con- 
stancy ;  and  that  if  the  pains  of  disease  be,  as  I 
believe  they  are,  sometimes  greater  than  those  of 
artificial  torture,  they  are  therefore  in  their  own 
nature  shorter ;  the  vital  frame  is  quickly  broken, 
or  the  union  between  soul  and  body  is  for  a  time 
suspended  by  insensibility,  and  we  soon  cease  to 
feel  our  maladies  when  they  once  become  too  vio- 
lent to  be  borne.  I  think  there  is  some  reason  for 
questioning  whether  the  body  and  mind  are  not  so 
proportioned,  that  the  one  can  bear  all  that  can  be 
inflicted  on  the  other,  whether  virtue  cannot  stand 
its  ground  as  long  as  life,  and  whether  a  soul  well 
principled  will  not  be  separated  sooner  than  sub- 

In  calamities  which  operate  chiefly  on  our  pas- 
sions, such  as  diminution  of  fortune,  loss  of  friends, 
or  declension  of  character,  the  chief  danger  of  impa- 
tience is  upon  the  first  attack,  and  many  expedients 
have  been  contrived,  by  wliich  the  blow  may  be 
broken.     Of  these,  the  most  general  precept  is,  not 


RAMBLER.  NO.    32. 

to  take  pleasure  in  any  thing,  of  which  it  is  not  in 
our  power  to  secure  the  possession  to  ourselves. 
This  counsel,  when  we  consider  the  enjoyment  of 
any  terrestrial  advantage  as  opposite  to  a  constant 
and  habitual  solicitude  for  future  felicity,  is  undoubt- 
edly just,  and  delivered  by  that  authority  which 
cannot  be  disputed  ;  but  in  any  other  sense,  is  it  not 
like  advice,  not  to  walk  lest  we  should  stumble,  or  not 
to  see  lest  our  eyes  should  light  upon  deformity?  It 
seems  to  me  reasonable  to  enjoy  blessings  with  con- 
fidence as  well  as  to  resign  them  with  submission, 
and  to  hope  for  the  continuance  of  good  which  we 
possess  without  insolence  or  voluptuousness,  as  for 
the  restitution  of  that  which  we  lose  without  de-, 
spondency  or  murmurs. 

The  chief  security  against  the  fruitless  anguish  of 
impatience,  must  arise  from  frequent  reflection  on 
the  wisdom  and  goodness  of  the  God  of  nature,  in 
whose  hands  are  riches  and  poverty,  honour  and  dis- 
grace, pleasure  and  pain,  and  life  and  death.  A 
settled  conviction  of  the  tendency  of  every  thino-  to 
our  good,  and  of  the  possibility  of  turning  miseines 
into  happiness,  by  receiving  them  rightly,  will 
incHne  us  to  bless  the  name  of  the  Lord  whether  h« 
gives  or  takes  away. 

NO.    33.  RAMBLER.'  255 

No.  33.     TUESDAY,  JULY  10,  1750 

Quod  caret  altemd  requie  durabile  non  est.  oviD. 

Alternate  rest  and  labour  long  endure. 


In  the  early  ages  of  the  world,  as  is  well  known  to 
those  who  are  versed  m  ancient  traditions,  when 
innocence  was  yet  untainted,  and  simplicity  unadul- 
terated, mankind  was  happy  in  the  enjoyment  of 
continual  pleasure,  and  constant  plenty,  under  the 
protection  of  Rest ;  a  gentle  divinity,  who  required 
of  her  worshippers  neither  altars  nor  sacrifices,  and 
whose  rites  were  only  performed  by  prostrations 
upon  turfs  of  flowers  in  shades  of  jasmine  and  myrtle, 
or  by  dances  on  the  banks  of  rivers  flowing  with  milk 
and  nectar. 

Under  this  easy  government  the  first  generations 
breathed  the  fragrance  of  perpetual  spring,  ate  the 
fruits,  which,  without  culture,  fell  ripe  into  their 
hands,  and  slept  under  bovvers  arched  by  nature, 
with  the  birds  singing  over  their  heads,  and  the 
beasts  sporting  about  them.  But  by  degrees  they 
began  to  lose  their  original  integrity ;  each,  though 
there  was  more  than  enough  for  all,  was  desirous 
of  appropriating  part  to  himself.  Then  entered 
Violence  and  Fraud,  and  Theft  and  Rapine.  Soon 
after  Pride  and  Envy  broke  into  the  world,  and 
brought  with  them  a  new  standard  of  wealth ;  for 
men,  who  till  then  thought  themselves  rich  when 
they  wanted  nothing,  now  rated  their  demands,  not 

256  RAMBLER.  NO.    S3. 

bj  the  calls  of  nature,  but  by  the  plenty  of  others  ; 
and  began  to  consider  themselves  as  poor,  when 
they  beheld  their  own  possessions  exceeded  by  those 
of  their  neighbours.  Now  only  one  could  be  happy, 
because  only  one  could  have  most,  and  that  one  was 
always  in  danger,  lest  the  same  arts,  by  which  he 
had  supplanted  others,  should  be  practised  upon 

Amidst  the  prevalence  of  this  corruption,  the  state 
of  the  earth  was  changed  ;  the  year  was  divided  into 
seasons ;  part  of  the  ground  became  barren,  and  the 
rest  yielded  only  berries,  acorns,  and  herbs.  The 
summer  and  autumn  indeed  furnished  a  coarse  and 
inelegant  sufficiency,  but  winter  was  without  any 
relief;  Famine,  with  a  thousand  diseases,  which  the 
inclemency  of  the  air  invited  into  the  upper  regions, 
made  havoc,  among  men,  and  there  appeared  to  be 
danger  lest  they  should  be  destroyed  before  they 
were  reformed. 

To  oppose  the  devastations  of  Famine,  who  scat- 
tered the  ground  everywhere  with  carcases,  Labour 
came  down  upon  earth.  Labour  was  the  son  of 
Necessity,  the  nurseling  of  Hope,  and  the  pupil  of 
Art ;  he  had  the  strength  of  his  mother,  the  spirit 
of  his  nurse,  and  the  dexterity  of  his  governess.  His 
face  was  wrinkled  with  the  wind,  and  swarthy  with 
the  sun ;  he  had  the  implements  of  husbandry  in  one 
hand,  with  which  he  turned  up  the  earth  ;  in  the 
other  he  had  the  tools  of  architecture,  and  raised 
walls  and  towers  at  his  pleasure.  He  called  out 
with  a  rough  voice,  "  Mortals  !  see  here  the  power 
to  whom  you  are  consigned,  and  from  whom  you  are 
to  hope  for  all  your  pleasures,  and  all  your  safety. 
You  have  long  languished  under  the  dominion  of 
Rest,  an  impotent  and  deceitful  goddess,  who  can 
neither  protect  nor  relieve  you,  but  resigns  you  to 

NO.    33.  RAMBLER.  257 

the  first  attacks  of  either  Famine  or  Disease,  and 
suffers  her  shades  to  be  invaded  by  every  enemy, 
and  destroyed  by  every  accident. 

"  Awake,  therefore,  to  the  call  of  Labour.  I  will 
teach  you  to  remedy  the  sterility  of  the  earth,  and 
the  severity  of  the  sky ;  I  will  compel  summer  to 
find  provisions  for  the  winter ;  I  will  force  the  wa- 
ters to  give  you  their  fish,  the  air  its  fowls,  and  the 
forest  its  beasts  ;  I  will  teach  you  to  pierce  the 
bowels  of  the  earth,  and  bring  out  from  the  caverns 
of  the  mountains  metals  which  shall  give  strength 
to  your  hands,  and  security  to  your  bodies,  by  which 
you  may  be  covered  from  the  assaults  of  the  fiercest 
beasts,  and  with  which  you  shall  fell  the  oak,  and 
divide  rocks,  and  subject  all  nature  to  your  use  and 

Encouraged  by  this  magnificent  invitation,  the 
inhabitants  of  the  globe  considered  Labour  as  their 
only  friend,  and  hasted  to  his  command.  He  led 
them  out  to  the  fields  and  mountains,  and  showed 
them  how  to  open  mines,  to  level  hills,  to  drain 
marshes,  and  change  the  course  of  rivers.  The  face 
of  things  was  immediately  transformed  ;  the  land 
w^as  covered  with  towns  and  villages,  encompassed 
with  fields  of  corn,  and  plantations  of  fruit-trees  ; 
and  nothing  was  seen  but  heaps  of  grain,  and 
baskets  of  fruit,  full  tables,  and  crowded  store- 

Thus  Labour  and  his  followers  added  every  hour 
new  acquisitions  to  their  conquests,  and  saw  Famine 
gradually  dispossessed  of  his  dominions  ;  till  at  last, 
amidst  their  jollity  and  triumphs,  they  were  de- 
pressed and  amazed  by  the  approach  of  Lassitude, 
who  was  known  by  her  sunk  eyes  and  dejected 
countenance.  She  came  forward  trembling  and 
groaning  :  at  every  groan  the  hearts  of  ail  those  who 

VOL.   XVI.  17 

258  RAMBLER.  NO.   33. 

beheld  her  lost  their  courage,  their  nerves  slackened, 
their  hands  shook,  and  the  instruments  of  labour  fell 
from  their  grasp. 

Shocked  with  this  horrid  phantom,  they  reflected 
with  regret  on  their  easy  compliance  with  the  solici- 
tations of  Labour,  and  began  to  wish  again  for  the 
golden  hours  which  they  remembered  to  have  passed 
under  the  reign  of  Rest,  whom  they  resolved  again 
to  visit,  and  to  whom  they  intended  to  dedicate  the 
remaining  part  of  their  lives.  Rest  had  not  left  the 
world ;  they  quickly  found  her,  and  to  atone  for 
their  former  desertion,  invited  her  to  the  enjoyment 
of  those  acquisitions  which  Labour  had  procured 

Rest,  therefore,  took  leave  of  the  groves  and  val- 
leys which  she  had  hitherto  inhabited,  and  entered 
into  palaces,  reposed  herself  in  alcoves,  and  slum- 
bered away  the  winter  upon  beds  of  down,  and  the 
summer  in  artificial  grottos  with  cascades  playing 
before  her.  There  was,  indeed,  always  something 
wanting  to  complete  her  felicity,  and  she  could  never 
lull  her  returning  fugitives  to  that  serenity,  which 
they  knew  before  their  engagements  with  Labour : 
nor  was  her  dominion  entirely  without  control,  for 
she  was  obliged  to  share  it  with  Luxury,  though  she 
always  looked  upon  her  as  a  false  friend,  by  whom 
her  influence  was  in  reality  destroyed,  while  it 
seemed  to  be  promoted. 

The  two  soft  associates,  however,  reigned  for 
some  time  without  visible  disagreement,  till  at  last 
Luxury  betrayed  her  charge,  and  let  in  Disease  to 
seize  upon  her  worshippers.  Rest  then  flew  away, 
and  left  the  place  to  the  usurpers ;  who  employed 
all  their  arts  to  fortify  themselves  in  their  possession, 
and  to  strengthen  the  interest  of  each  other. 

Rest  had  not  always  the  same  enemy ;  in  some 

NO.    33.  RAMBLER.  259 

places  she  escaped  the  incursions  of  Disease  ;  but 
had  her  residence  invaded  by  a  more  slow  and  subtle 
intruder;  for  very  frequently  when  every  thing  was 
composed  and  quiet,  when  there  was  neither  pain 
within,  nor  danger  without,  when  every  flower  was 
in  bloom,  and  every  gale  freighted  with  perfumes, 
Satiety  would  enter  with  a  languishing  and  repining 
look,  and  throw  herself  upon  the  couch  placed  and 
adorned  for  the  accommodation  of  Rest.  No  sooner 
was  she  seated  than  a  general  gloom  spread  itself 
on  every  side,  the  groves  immediately  lost  their 
verdure,  and  their  inhabitants  desisted  from  their 
melody  ;  the  breeze  sunk  in  sighs,  and  the  flowers 
contracted  their  leaves  and  shut  up  their  odours. 
Nothing  was  seen  on  every  side  but  multitudes 
wandering  about  they  knew  not  whither,  in  quest 
they  knew  not  of  what ;  no  voice  was  heard  but  of 
complaints  that  mentioned  no  pain,  and  murmurs 
that  could  tell  of  no  misfortune. 

Rest  had  now  lost  her  authority.  Her  followers 
again  began  to  treat  her  with  contempt ;  some  of 
them  united  themselves  more  closely  to  Luxury, 
who  promised  by  her  arts  to  drive  Satiety  away ; 
and  others  that  were  more  wise,  or  had  more  forti- 
tude, went  back  again  to  Labour,  by  whom  they 
were,  indeed,  protected  from  Satiety,  but  delivered 
up  in  time  to  Lassitude,  and  forced  by  her  to  the 
bowers  of  Rest. 

Thus  Rest  and  Labour  equally  perceived  their 
reign  of  short  duration  and  uncertain  tenure,  and 
their  empire  liable  to  inroads  from  those  who  were 
alike  enemies  to  both.  They  each  found  their  sub- 
jects unfaithful,  and  ready  to  desert  them  upon  every 
opportunity.  Labour  saw  the  riches  which  he  had 
given  always  carried  away  as  an  offering  to  Rest, 
and  Rest  found  lier  votaries  in  every  exigence  flying 

260  RAMBLER.  NO.    34. 

from  her  to  beg  help  of  Labour.  They,  therefore, 
at  last  determined  upon  an  interview,  in  which  thej 
agreed  to  divide  the  world  between  them,  and  govern 
it  alternately,  allotting  the  dominion  of  the  day  to 
one,  and  that  of  the  night  to  the  other,  and  promised 
to  guard  the  frontiers  of  each  other,  so  that,  when- 
ever hostilities  were  attempted.  Satiety  should  be 
intercepted  by  Labour,  and  Lassitude  expelled  by 
Rest.  Thus  the  ancient  quarrel  was  appeased,  and 
as  hatred  is  often  succeeded  by  its  contrary,  Rest 
afterwards  became  pregnant  by  Labour,  and  was 
delivered  of  Health,  a  benevolent  goddess,  who  con- 
solidated the  union  of  her  parents,  and  contributed 
to  the  regular  vicissitudes  of  their  reign,  by  dispens- 
ing her  gifts  to  those  only  who  shared  their  lives  in 
just  proportions  between  Rest  and  Labour. 

No.  34.     SATURDAY,  JULY  14,  1750. 

— Non  sine  vano 
Aurarum  et  siliioe.  metu.  hor.  car.  i.  23.  3 

Alarm'd  with  every  rising  gale, 

In  every  wood,  in  every  vale.  elpbcinston. 

I  HAVE  been  censured  for  having  hitherto  dedi- 
cated so  few  of  my  speculations  to  the  ladies  ;  and, 
indeed,  the  moralist,  whose  instructions  are  accom- 
modated only  to  one  half  of  the  human  species,  must 
be  confessed  not  sufficiently  to  have  extended  his 
views.     Yet  it  is  to  be   considered,  that  masculine 

NO.    34.  RAMBLER.  261 

duties  afford  more  room  for  counsels  and  observa- 
tions, as  they  are  less  uniform,  and  connected  with 
things  more  subject  to  vicissitude  and  accident ;  we, 
therefore,  find  that  in  philosophical  discourses  which 
teach  by  precept,  or  historical  narratives  that  instruct 
by  example,  the  peculiar  virtues  or  faults  of  women 
fill  but  a  small  part ;  perhaps,  generally  too  small, 
for  so  much  of  our  domestic  happiness  is  in  their 
hands,  and  their  influence  is  so  great  upon  our 
earliest  years,  that  the  universal  interest  of  the  world 
requires  them  to  be  well  instructed  in  their  province  ; 
nor  can  it  be  thought  proper  that  the  qualities  by 
which  so  much  pain  or  pleasure  may  be  given,  should 
be  left  to  the  direction  of  chance. 

I  have,  therefore,  willingly  given  a  place  in  my 
paper  to  a  letter,  which,  perhaps,  may  not  be  wholly 
useless  to  them  whose  chief  ambition  is  to  please, 
as  it  shows  how  certainly  the  end  is  missed  by  ab- 
surd and  injudicious  endeavours  at  distinction. 



"  SIR, 

"I  am  a  young  gentleman  at  my  own  disposal 
with  a  considerable  estate ;  and  having  passed 
through  the  common  forms  of  education,  spent  some 
time  in  foreign  countries,  and  made  myself  distin- 
guished since  my  return  in  the  politest  company;  I 
am  now  arrived  at  that  part  of  life  in  which  every 
man  is  expected  to  settle,  and  provide  for  the  contin- 
uation of  his  lineage.  I  withstood  for  some  time 
the  solicitations  and  remonstrances  of  my  aunts  and 
uncles,  but  at  last  was  persuaded  to  visit  Antiiea, 
an  heiress,  whose  land  lies  contiguous  to  mine,  and 
whose  birth  and  beauty  are  without  objection.  Our 
friends  declared  that  we  were  born  for  eacli  other ; 

262  RAMBLER.  NO.    34. 

all  tliose  on,  both  sides  who  had  no  interest  in  hin- 
dering our  union,  contributed  to  promote  it,  and 
were  conspiring  to  hurry  us  into  matrimony  before 
we  had  an  opportunity  of  knowing  one  another.  I 
was,  however,  too  old  to  be  given  away  without  my 
own  consent,  and  having  happened  to  pick  up  an 
opinion,  which  to  many  of  my  relations  seemed  ex- 
tremely odd,  that  a  man  might  be  unhappy  with  a 
large  estate,  determined  to  obtain  a  nearer  know- 
ledge of  the  person  with  whom  I  was  to  pass  the 
remainder  of  my  time.  To  protract  the  courtship 
was  by  no  means  difficult,  for  Anthea  had  a  wonder- 
ful facility  of  evading  questions  which  I  seldom  re- 
peated, and  of  barring  approaches  which  I  had  no 
great  eagerness  to  press. 

"  Tlius  the  time  passed  away  in  visits  and  civili- 
ties, without  any  ardent  professions  of  love,  or  for- 
mal offers  of  settlements.  I  often  attended  her  to 
public  places,  in  which,  as  is  well  known,  all  be- 
haviour is  so  much  regulated  by  custom,  that  very 
little  insight  can  be  gained  into  the  private  character, 
and,  therefore,  I  was  not  yet  able  to  inform  myself 
of  her  humour  and  inclinations. 

"  At  last,  I  ventured  to  propose  to  her  to  make 
one  of  a  small  party,  and  spend  a  day  in  viewing  a 
seat  and  gardens  a  few  miles  distant ;  and  having, 
upon  her  compliance,  collected  the  rest  of  the  com- 
pany, I  brought,  at  the  hour,  a  coach  which  1  had 
borrowed  from  an  acquaintance,  having  delayed  to 
buy  one  myself,  till  I  should  have  an  opportunity 
of  taking  the  lady's  opinion  for  whose  use  it  was  in- 
tended. Anthea  came  down,  but  as  she  was  going 
to  step  into  the  coach,  started  back  with  great  ap- 
pearance of  terror,  and  told  us  that  she  durst  not 
enter,  for  the  shocking  colour  of  the  lining  had  so 
much  the  air  of  the  mourning-coach  in  which  she 

NO.    34.  RAMBLER.  263 

followed  her  aunt's  funeral  three  years  before,  that 
she  should  never  have  her  poor  dear  aunt  out  of 
her  head. 

"  I  knew  that  it  was  not  for  lovers  to  argue  with 
their  mistresses ;  I  therefore  sent  back  the  coach, 
and  got  another  more  gay ;  into  this  we  all  entered, 
the  coachman  began  to  drive,  and  we  were  amusing 
ourselves  with  the  expectation  of  what  we  should 
see,  when,  upon  a  small  inclination  of  the  carriage, 
Anthea  screamed  out  that  we  w^ere  overthrown.  We 
were  obliged  to  fix  all  our  attention  upon  her,  which 
she  took  care  to  keep  up  by  renewing  her  outcries, 
at  every  corner  where  we  had  occasion  to  turn  ;  at 
intervals  she  entertained  us  with  fretful  complaints 
of  the  uneasiness  of  the  coach,  and  obliged  me  to 
call  several  times  on  the  coachman  to  take  care  and 
drive  without  jolting.  The  poor  fellow  endeavoured 
to  please  us,  and,  therefore,  moved  very  slowly,  till 
Anthea  found  out  that  this  pace  would  only  keep  us 
longer  on  the  stones,  and  desired  that  I  would  order 
him  to  make  more  speed.  He  whipped  his  horses, 
the  coach  jolted  again,  and  Anthea,  very  complais- 
antly,  told  us  how  much  she  repented  that  she  made 
one  of  our  company. 

"At  last  we  got  into  the  smooth  road,  and  began 
to  think  our  difficulties  at  an  end,  when,  on  a  sudden, 
Anthea  saw  a  brook  before  us,  which  she  could  not 
venture  to  pass.  "We  were,  therefore,  obliged  to 
alight,  that  we  might  walk  over  the  bridge  ;  but  when 
we  came  to  it,  we  found  it  so  narrow,  that  Anthea 
durst  not  set  her  foot  upon  it,  and  was  content,  after 
long  consultation,  to  call  the  coach  back,  and  with 
innumerable  precautions,  terrors,  and  lamentations, 
crossed  the  brook. 

"It  was  necessary  after  this  delay  to  amend  our 
pace,  and  directions  were  accordingly  given  to  the 

264  RAMBLER.  NO.    34. 

coachman,  when  Anthea  informed  us,  that  it  was 
common  for  the  axle  to  catch  fire  with  a  quick  mo- 
tion, and  begged  of  me  to  look  out  every  minute, 
lest  we  should  all  be  consumed.  I  was  forced  to 
obey,  and  gave  her  from  time  to  time  the  most  solemn 
declarations  that  all  was  safe,  and  that  I  hoped  we 
should  reach  the  place  without  losing  our  lives  either 
by  fire  or  water. 

"  Thus  we  passed  on,  over  ways  soft  and  hard, 
with  more  or  with  less  speed,  but  always  with  new 
vicissitudes  of  anxiety.  If  the  ground  was  hard,  we 
were  jolted,  if  soft,  we  were  sinking.  If  we  went 
fast,  we  should  be  overturned,  if  slowly,  we  should 
never  reach  the  place.  At  length  she  saw  some- 
thing which  she  called  a  cloud,  and  began  to  con- 
sider that  at  that  time  of  the  year  it  frequently 
thundered.  This  seemed  to  be  the  capital  terror, 
for  after  that  the  coach  was  suffered  to  move  on  ; 
and  no  dano;er  was  thouorht  too  dreadful  to  be  en- 
countered,  provided  she  could  get  into  a  house  be- 
fore the  thunder. 

"  Thus  our  whole  conversation  passed  in  dangers, 
and  cares,  and  fears,  and  consolations,  and  stories  of 
ladies  dragged  in  the  mire,  forced  to  spend  all  the 
night  on  a  heath,  drowned  in  rivers,  or  burnt  with 
lightning ;  and  no  sooner  had  a  hairbreadth  escape 
set  us  free  from  one  calamity,  but  we  were  threatened 
with  another. 

"  At  length  we  reached  the  house  where  we 
intended  to  regale  ourselves,  and  I  proposed  to 
Anthea  the  choice  of  a  great  number  of  dishes, 
which  the  place,  being  well  provided  for  entertain- 
ment, happened  to  afford.  She  made  some  objec- 
tion to  every  thing  that  was  offered  ;  one  thing  she 
hated  at  that  time  of  the  year,  another  she  could 
not  bear  since  she  had  seen  it  spoiled  at  Lady  Feed- 

NO.    34.  RAMBLER.  2G5 

welFs  table ;  another  she  was  sure  they  could  not 
dress  at  this  house,  and  another  she  could  not  touch 
without  French  sauce.  At  last  she  fixed  her  mind 
upon  salmon,  but  there  was  no  salmon  in  the  house. 
It  was,  however,  procured  with  great  expedition, 
and  when  it  came  to  the  table,  she  found  that  her 
fright  had  taken  away  her  stomach,  which  indeed 
she  thought  no  great  loss,  for  she  could  never  be- 
lieve that  any  thing  at  an  inn  could  be  cleanly  got. 

"  Dinner  was  now  over,  and  the  company  pro- 
posed, for  I  was  now  past  the  condition  of  making 
overtures,  that  we  should  pursue  our  original  design 
of  visiting  the  sjardens.  Anthea  declared  that  she 
could  not  imagine  what  pleasure  we  expected  from 
the  sight  of  a  few  green  trees,  and  a  little  gravel, 
and  two  or  three  pits  of  clear  water ;  that  for  her 
part  she  hated  walking  till  the  cool  of  the  evening, 
and  thought  it  very  likely  to  rain  ;  and  again  wished 
that  she  had  stayed  at  home.  We  then  reconciled 
ourselves  to  our  disappointment,  and  began  to  talk 
on  common  subjects,  when  Anthea  told  us,  that 
since  we  came  to  see  gardens,  she  would  not  hinder 
our  satisfaction.  We  all  rose,  and  walked  through 
the  inclosures  for  some  time,  with  no  other  trouble 
than  the  necessity  of  watching  lest  a  frog  should 
hop  across  the  way,  which  Anthea  told  us  would 
certainly  kill  her,  if  she  should  happen  to  see  him. 

"  Frogs,  as  it  fell  out,  there  were  none  ;  but  when 
we  were  within  a  furlong  of  the  gardens,  Anthea 
saw  some  sheep,  and  heard  the  wether  clink  his 
bell,  which  she  was  certain  was  not  hung  upon  him 
for  nothing,  and  therefore  no  assurances  nor  entrea- 
ties should  prevail  upon  her  to  go  a  step  further  ; 
she  was  sorry  to  dIsa[>[)oint  the  company,  but  her 
life  was  dearer  to  her  than  ceremony. 

"  We  came  back  to  the  inn,  and  Anthea  now  dis- 

266  RAMBLER.  NO.   34. 

covered  that  there  was  no  time  to  be  lost  in  return- 
ing, for  the  night  would  come  upon  us,  and  a 
thousand  misfortunes  might  happen  in  the  dark. 
The  horses  were  immediately  harnessed,  and  An- 
thea  having  wondered  what  could  seduce  her  to  stay 
so  long,  was  eager  to  set  out.  But  we  had  now  a 
new  scene  of  terror,  every  man  we  saw  was  a  rob- 
ber, and  we  were  ordered  sometimes  to  drive  hard, 
lest  a  traveller,  whom  we  saw  behind,  should  over- 
take us  ;  and  sometimes  to  stop,  lest  we  should  come 
up  to  him  who  was  passing  before  us.  She  alarmed 
many  an  honest  man,  by  begging  him  to  spare  her 
life  as  he  passed  by  the  coach,  and  drew  me  into 
fifteen  quarrels  with  persons  who  increased  her 
fright,  by  kindly  stopping  to  inquire  whether  they 
could  assist  us.  At  last  we  came  home,  and  she 
told  her  company  next  day  what  a  pleasant  ride  she 
had  been  taking. 

"  I  suppose.  Sir,  I  need  not  inquire  of  you  what 
deductions  may  be  made  from  this  narrative,  nor 
what  happiness  can  arise  from  the  society  of  that 
woman  who  mistakes  cowardice  for  elegance,  and 
imagines  all  delicacy  to  consist  in  refusing  to  be 

"  I  am,"  &c. 

NO.    35.  RAMBLER. 


No.  35.     TUESDAY,  JULY  17,  1750. 

— Non  pi'onuba  Juno, 
Ncm  Hymenceus  adest,  non  illi  Gratia  lecto. 

OVID.  MET.  vi.  428. 

Without  connubial  Juno's  aid  tliey  wed; 
Nor  Hymen  nor  the  Graces  bless  the  bed. 


"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 

"  SIR, 

"  As  you  have  hitherto  delayed  the  performance 
of  the  promise,  by  which  you  gave  us  reason  to  hope 
for  another  paper  upon  matrimony,  I  imagine  you 
desirous  of  collecting  more  materials  than  your  own 
experience  or  observation  can  supply  ;  and  I  shall 
therefore  lay  candidly  before  you  an  account  of  my 
own  entrance  into  the  conjugal  state. 

"  I  was  about  eight-and-twenty  years  old,  when, 
having  tried  the  diversions  of  the  town  till  I  began 
to  be  weary,  and  being  awakened  into  attention  to 
more  serious  business,  by  the  failure  of  an  attorney 
to  whom  I  had  implicitly  trusted  the  conduct  of  my 
fortune,  I  resolved  to  take  my  estate  into  my  own 
care,  and  methodize  my  whole  life  according  to  the 
strictest  rules  of  economical  prudence. 

"In  pursuance  of  this  scheme,  I  took  leave  of  my 
acquaintance,  who  dismissed  me  with  numberless 
jests  upon  my  new  system  ;  having  tirst  endeavoured 
to  divert  me  from  a  design  so  little  worthy  of  a  man 
of  wit,  by  ridiculous  accounts  of  the  ignorance  and 

268  RAMBLER.  NO.    35. 

rusticity  into  which  many  had  sunk  in  their  retire- 
ment, after  having  distinguished  themselves  in  tav- 
erns and  playhouses,  and  given  hopes  of  rising  to 
uncommon  eminence  among  the  gay  part  of  man- 

"  When  I  came  first  into  the  country,  which,  by 
a  neglect  not  uncommon  among  young  heirs,  I  had 
never  seen  since  the  death  of  my  father,  I  found 
every  thing  in  such  confusion,  that,  being  utterly 
without  practice  in  business,  I  had  great  difficulties 
to  encounter  in  disentangling  the  perplexities  of  my 
circumstances;  they  however  gave  way  to  diligent 
application,  and  I  perceived  that  the  advantage  of 
keeping  my  own  accounts  would  very  much  over- 
balance the  time  which  they  could  require. 

"I  had  now  visited  my  tenants,  surveyed  my 
land,  and  repaired  the  old  house,  which,  for  some 
years,  had  been  running  to  decay.  These  proofs 
of  pecuniary  wisdom  began  to  recommend  me  as  a 
sober,  judicious,  thriving  gentleman,  to  all  my  graver 
neighbours  of  the  country,  who  never  failed  to  cele- 
brate my  management  in  opposition  to  Thriftless 
and  Latterwit,  two  smart  fellows,  who  had  estates 
in  the  same  part  of  the  kingdom,  which  they  visited 
now  and  then  in  a  frolic,  to  take  up  their  rents 
beforehand,  debauch  a  milkmaid,  make  a  feast  for 
the  village,  and  tell  stories  of  their  own  intrigues, 
and  then  rode  post  back  to  town  to  spend  their 

"  It  was  doubtful,  however,  for  some  time,  whether 
I  should  be  able  to  hold  my  resolution  ;  but  a  short 
perseverance  removed  all  suspicions.  I  rose  every 
day  in  reputation,  by  the  decency  of  my  con- 
versation, and  the  regularity  of  my  conduct,  and 
was  mentioned  with  great  regard  at  the  assizes, 
as  a  man  very  fit  to  be  put  in  commission  for  the 

NO.    35.  RAMBLER.  269 

"  During  the  confusion  of  my  affairs,  and  the 
daily  necessity  of  visiting  farms,  adjusting  contracts, 
letting  leases,  and  superintending  repairs,  I  found 
very  little  vacuity  in  my  life,  and  therefore  had  not 
many  thoughts  of  marriage ;  but,  in  a  little  while, 
the  tumult  of  business  subsided,  and  the  exact 
method  which  I  had  established  enabled  me  to  dis- 
patch my  accounts  with  great  facility.  I  had,  there- 
fore, now  upon  my  hands  the  task  of  finding  means 
to  spend  my  time,  without  falling  back  into  the 
poor  amusements  which  I  had  hitherto  indulged,  or 
changing  them  for  the  sports  of  the  field,  which  I 
saw  pursued  wdth  so  much  eagerness  by  the  gentle- 
men of  the  country,  that  they  were  indeed  the  only 
pleasures  in  which  I  could  promise  myself  any  par- 

"  The  inconvenience  of  this  situation  naturally 
disposed  me  to  wish  for  a  companion,  and  the 
known  value  of  my  estate,  with  my  reputation  for 
frugality  and  prudence,  easily  gained  me  admission 
into  every  family ;  for  I  soon  found  that  no  inquiry 
was  made  after  any  other  virtue,  nor  any  testimonial 
necessary,  but  of  my  freedom  from  incumbrances, 
and  my  care  of  what  they  termed  the  main  chance. 
I  saw,  not  without  indignation,  the  eagerness  with 
which  the  daughters,  wdierever  I  came,  were  set  out 
to  show  ;  nor  could  I  consider  them  in  a  state  much 
different  from  prostitution,  when  I  found  them 
ordered  to  play  their  airs  before  me,  and  to  exhibit, 
by  some  seeming  chance,  specimens  of  their  music, 
their  work,  or  their  housewifery.  No  sooner  was 
I  placed  at  table,  than  the  young  lady  was  called 
upon  to  pay  me  some  civility  or  other;  nor  could  I 
find  means  of  escaping,  from  either  father  or  mother, 
some  account  of  their  daughter's  excellences,  with 
a  declaration  that  they  were  now  leaving  the  world, 

270  RAMBLER.  NO.   35. 

and  had  no  business  on  this  side  the  grave,  but  to 
see  their  children  happily  disposed  of;  that  she 
whom  I  had  been  pleased  to  compliment  at  table, 
was  indeed  the  chief  pleasure  of  their  age,  so  good, 
so  dutiful,  so  great  a  relief  to  her  mamma  in  the 
care  of  the  house,  and  so  much  her  papa's  favourite 
for  her  cheerfulness  and  wit,  that  it  would  be  with 
the  last  reluctance  that  they  should  part ;  but  to  a 
worthy  gentleman  in  the  neighbourhood,  whom  they 
might  often  visit,  they  would  not  so  far  consult  their 
own  gratification,  as  to  refuse  her ;  and  their  tender- 
ness should  be  shown  in  her  fortune,  whenever  a 
suitable  settlement  was  proposed. 

"  As  I  knew  these  overtures  not  to  proceed  from 
any  preference  of  me  before  another  equally  rich,  I 
could  not  but  look  with  pity  on  young  persons  con- 
demned to  be  set  to  auction,  and  made  cheap  by 
injudicious  commendations;  for  how  could  they 
know  themselves  offered  and  rejected  a  hundred 
times,  without  some  loss  of  that  soft  elevation,  and 
maiden  dignity,  so  necessary  to  the  completion  of 
female  excellence? 

"  I  shall  not  trouble  you  with  a  history  of  the 
stratagems  practised  upon  my  judgment,  or  the 
allurements  tried  upon  my  heart,  which,  if  you  have, 
in  any  part  of  your  life,  been  acquainted  with  rural 
politics,  you  will  easily  conceive.  Their  arts  have 
no  great  variety,  they  think  nothing  worth  their  care 
but  money,  and  supposing  its  influence  the  same 
upon  all  the  world,  seldom  endeavour  to  deceive  by 
any  other  means  than  false  computations. 

"  I  will  not  deny  that,  by  hearing  myself  loudly 
commended  for  any  discretion,  I  began  to  set  some 
value  upon  my  character,  and  was  unwilling  to  lose 
my  credit  by  marrying  for  love.  I  therefore  re- 
solved to  know  the  fortune  of  the  lady  whom   I 

NO.    35.  RAMBLER.  271 

should  address,  before  I  inquired  after  her  wit,  deli- 
cacy, or  beauty. 

"  This  determination  led  me  to  Mitissa,  the  daugh- 
ter  of  Chrysophilus,  whose  person  was  at  least  with- 
out deformity,  and  whose  manners  were  free  from 
reproach,  as  she  had  been  bred  up  at  a  distance 
from  all  common  temptations.  To  Mitissa,  there- 
fore, I  obtained  leave  from  her  parents  to  pay  my 
court,  and  was  referred  by  her  again  to  her  father 
whose  direction  she  was  resolved  to  follow.  The 
question  then  was,  only,  what  should  be  settled. 
The  old  gentleman  made  an  enormous  demand,  with 
which  I  refused  to  comply.  Mitissa  was  ordered 
to  exert  her  power;  she  told  me,  that  if  I  could 
refuse  her  papa,  I  had  no  love  for  her ;  that  she 
was  an  unhappy  creature,  and  that  I  was  a  perfidi- 
ous man  ;  then  she  burst  into  tears  and  fell  into  fits. 
All  this,  as  I  was  no  passionate  lover,  had  little 
effect.  She  next  refused  to  see  me,  and  because  I 
thought  myself  obliged  to  write  in  terms  of  distress, 
they  had  once  hopes  of  starving  me  into  measures  ; 
but,  finding  me  inflexible,  the  father  complied  with 
my  proposal,  and  told  me  he  liked  me  the  more  for 
being  so  good  at  a  bargain. 

"I  was  now  married  to  Mitissa,  and  was  to  expe- 
rience the  happiness  of  a  match  made  without  pas- 
sion. Mitissa  soon  discovered  that  she  was  equally 
prudent  with  myself,  and  had  taken  a  husband  only 
to  be  at  her  own  command,  and  to  have  a  chariot  at 
her  own  call.  She  brought  with  her  an  old  maid, 
recommended  by  her  mother,  who  taught  her  all 
the  arts  of  domestic  management,  and  was,  on  every 
occasion,  her  chief  agent  and  directress.  They  soon 
invented  one  reason  or  other,  to  quarrel  with  all  my 
servants,  and  either  prevailed  on  me  to  turn  them 
away,  or  treated  them   so  ill,  that  they  left  me  of 

272  RAMBLER.  NO.   35. 

themselves,  and  always  supplied  tlieir  places  with 
some  brought  from  my  wife's  relations.  Thus  they 
established  a  family,  over  which  I  had  no  authority, 
and  which  was  in  a  perpetual  conspiracy  against 
me ;  for  Mitissa  considered  herself  as  having  a  sep- 
arate interest,  and  thought  nothing  her  own  but 
what  she  laid  up  without  my  knowledge.  For  this 
reason  she  brought  me  false  accounts  of  the  ex- 
penses of  the  house,  joined  with  my  tenants  in  com- 
plaints of  hard  times,  and  by  means  of  a  steward  of 
her  own,  took  rewards  for  soliciting  abatements  of 
the  rent.  Her  great  hope  is  to  outlive  me,  that  she 
may  enjoy,  what  she  has  thus  accumulated,  and, 
therefore,  she  is  always  contriving  some  improve- 
ments of  her  jointure  land,  and  once  tried  to  procure 
an  injunction  to  hinder  me  from  felling  timber  upon 
it  for  repairs.  Her  father  and  mother  assist  her  in 
her  projects,  and  are  frequently  hinting  that  she  is 
ill  used,  and  reproaching  me  with  the  presents  that 
other  ladies  receive  from  their  husbands. 

"  Such,  Sir,  was  my  situation  for  seven  years,  till 
at  last  my  patience  was  exhausted,  and  having  one 
day  invited  her  father  to  my  house,  I  laid  the  state 
of  my  affairs  before  him,  detected  my  wife  in  several 
of  her  frauds,  turned  out  her  steward,  charged  a 
constable  with  her  maid,  took  my  business  in  my 
own  hands,  reduced  her  to  a  settled  allowance,  and 
now  write  this  account  to  warn  others  against 
marrying  those  whom  they  have  no  reason  to 


NO.    36.  RAMBLER.  273 

No.  36.     SATURDAY,  JULY  21,  1750. 

— "A//'  eiTovTO  vofj.^eg 
TepTTOfievoc  avpty^t  i6%ov  6'  ovre  npovor/oav. 


— Piping  on  their  reeds,  the  s"hepherds  go, 
Nor  fear  an  ambush,  nor  suspect  a  foe.  pope. 

There  is  scarcely  any  species  of  poetry  that  has 
allured  more  readers,  or  excited  more  writers,  than 
the  pastoral.  It  is  generally  pleasing,  because  it 
entertains  the  mind  with  representations  of  scenes 
familiar  to  almost  every  imagination,  and  of  which 
all  can  equally  judge  whether  they  are  well  de- 
scribed, it  exhibits  a  life,  to  which  we  have  been 
always  accustomed  to  associate  peace,  and  leisure, 
and  innocence ;  and,  therefore,  we  readily  set  open 
the  heart  for  the  admission  of  its  images,  which  con- 
tribute to  drive  away  cares  and  perturbations,  and 
suffer  ourselves,  without  resistance,  to  be  transported 
to  elysian  regions,  where  we  are  to  meet  with  noth- 
ing, but  joy,  and  plenty,  and  contentment ;  where 
every  gale  whispers  pleasure,  and  every  shade  prom- 
ises repose. 

It  has  been  maintained  by  some,  who  love  to  talk 
of  what  they  do  not  know,  that  pastoral  is  the  most 
ancient  poetry  ;  and,  indeed,  since  it  is  probable  that 
poetry  is  nearly  of  the  same  antiquity  with  rational 
nature,  and  since  the  life  of  the  first  men  was  cer- 
tainly rural,  we  may  reasonably  conjecture,  that,  as 
their  ideas  would  necessarily  be  borrowed  from  those 

VOL.   XVI.  18 

274  RAMBLER.  NO.    36. 

objects  with  which  they  were  acquainted,  their  com- 
posures, being  filled  chiefly  with  such  thoughts  on 
the  visible  creation  as  must  occur  to  the  first  ob- 
servers, w^ere  pastoral  hymns,  like  those  which 
Milton  introduces  the  original  pair  singing,  in  the 
day  of  innocence,  to  the  praise  of  their  Maker. 

For  the  same  reason  that  pastoral  poetry  was  the 
first  employment  of  the  human  imagination,  it  is 
generally  the  first  literary  amusements  of  our  minds. 
We  have  seen  fields,  and  meadows,  and  groves, 
from  the  time  that  our  eyes  opened  upon  life ;  and 
are  pleased  with  birds,  and  brooks,  and  breezes, 
much  earlier  than  we  engage  among  the  actions  and 
passions  of  mankind.  We  are,  therefore,  delighted 
with  rural  pictures,  because  we  know  the  original 
at  an  age  when  our  curiosity  can  be  very  little 
awakened,  by  descriptions  of  courts  which  we  never 
beheld,  or  representations  of  passions  which  we  never 

The  satisfaction  received  from  this  kind  of  writing 
not  only  begins  early,  but  lasts  long;  we  do  not,  as 
we  advance  into  the  intellectual  world,  throw  it  away 
among  other  childish  amusements  and  pastimes,  but 
willingly  return  to  it  in  any  hour  of  indolence  and 
relaxation.  The  images  of  true  pastoral  have  always 
the  power  of  exciting  delight,  because  the  works  of 
nature,  from  which  they  are  drawn,  have  always  the 
same  order  and  beauty,  and  continue  to  force  them- 
selves upon  our  thoughts,  being  at  once  obvious  to 
the  most  careless  regard,  and  more  than  adequate  to 
the  strongest  reason  and  severest  contemplation. 
Our  inclination  to  stillness  and  tranquillity  is  seldom 
much  lessened  by  long  knowledge  of  the  busy  and 
tumultuary  part  of  the  world.  In  childhood,  we  turn 
our  thoughts  to  the  country,  as  to  the  region  of 
pleasure  ;  we  recur  to  it  in  old  age  as  a  port  of  rest, 

NO.    36.  KAMBLER.  275 

and,  perhaps,  with  tliat  secondary  and  adventitious 
gladness  Avhich  every  man  feels  on  reviewing  those 
places,  or  recollecting  those  occurrences,  that  con- 
tributed to  his  youthful  enjoyments,  and  bring  him 
back  to  the  prime  of  life,  when  the  world  was  gay 
with  the  bloom  of  novelty,  when  mirth  wantoned  at 
his  side,  and  hope  sparkled  before  him. 

The  sense  of  this  universal  pleasure  has  invited 
'  numbers  without  number/  to  try  their  skill  in  pas- 
toral performances,  in  which  they  have  generally 
succeeded  after  the  manner  of  other  imitators,  trans- 
mitting the  same  images  in  the  same  combination 
from  one  to  another,  till  he  that  reads  the  title  of  a 
poem,  may  guess  at  the  whole  series  of  the  composi- 
tion ;  nor  will  a  man,  after  the  perusal  of  thousands 
of  these  performances,  find  his  knowledge  enlarged 
with  a  single  view  of  nature  not  produced  beforefor 
his  imagination  amused  with  any  new  application 
of  those  views  to  moral  purposes. 

The    range    of   ])astoral   is,  indeed,   narrow,  for 
though  njiture   itself,  philosophically  considered,   be 
inexhaustible,  yet  its  general  effects  on  the  eye  and 
on  the  ear  are  uniform,  and  incapable  of  much  variety 
of  description.    Poetry  cannot  dwell  upon  the  minu- 
ter distinctions,  by  which  one  species  differs  from 
another,  without  departing  from  that  simplicity  of 
grandeur  which  fills  the  imagination  ;  nor  dissect  the 
latent  qualities  of  things,  without  losing  its  general 
power  of  gratifying  every  mind  by  recalling  its  con- 
ceptions.    However,  as  each  age  makes  some  dis- 
coveries,   and    those    discoveries     are     by    degrees 
generally  known ;    as  new  plants  or  modes  of"  cul- 
ture are  introduced,  and  by  little  and  little  become 
common  ;  pastoral  might  receive,  from  time  to  time, 
small  augmentations,  and  exhibit  once  in  a  century 
a  scene  somewiiat  varied. 

276  KAMBLER.  NO.    36. 

But  pastoral  subjects  have  been  often,  like  others, 
taken  into  the  hands  of  those  that  were  not  qualified 
to  adorn  them,  men  to  whom  the  face  of  nature  was 
so  little  known,  that  they  have  drawn  it  only  after 
their  own  imagination,  and  changed  or  distorted 
her  features,  that  their  portraits  might  appear 
something  more  than  servile  copies  from  their 

Not  only  the  images  of  rural  life,  but  the  occasions 
on  which  they  can  be  properly  produced,  are  few 
and  general.  The  state  of  a  man  confined  to  the 
employments  and  pleasures  of  the  country,  is  so  little 
diversified,  and  exposed  to  so  few  of  those  accidents 
which  produce  perplexities,  terrors,  and  surprises, 
in  more  complicated  transactions,  that  he  can  be 
shown  but  seldom  in  such  circumstances  as  attract 
curiosity.  His  ambition  is  without  policy,  and  his 
love  without  intrigue.  He  has  no  complaints  to 
make  of  his  rival,  but  that  he  is  richer  than  himself; 
nor  any  disasters  to  lament,  but  a  cruel  mistress,  or 
•a  bad  harvest. 

The  conviction  of  the  necessity  of  some  new  source 
of  pleasure  induced  Sannazarius  to  remove  the  scene 
from  the  fields  to  the  sea,  to  substitute  fishermen  for 
shepherds,  and  derive  his  sentiments  from  the  pisca- 
tory life ;  for  which  he  has  been  censured  by  suc- 
ceeding critics,  because  the  sea  is  an  object  of  terror, 
and  by  no  means  proper  to  amuse  the  mind  and  lay 
the  passions  asleep.  Against  this  objection  he  might 
be  defended  by  the  established  maxim,  that  the  poet 
has  a  right  to  select  his  images,  and  is  no  more 
obliged  to  show  the  sea  in  a  storm,  than  the  land 
under  an  inundation  ;  but  may  display  all  the  pleas- 
ures, and  conceal  the  dangers  of  the  water,  as  he 
may  lay  his  shepherd  under  a  shady  beech,  without 
giving  him  an  ague,  or  letting  a  wild  beast  loose 
upon  him. 

NO.    36.  RAMBLER.  277 

There  are,  however,  two  defects  in  the  piscatory 
eclogue,  which,  perhaps,  cannot  be  supplied.  The 
sea,  though  in  hot  countries  it  is  considered  by  those 
who  live,  like  Sannazarius,  upon  the  coast,  as  a  place 
of  pleasure  and  diversion,  has,  notwithstanding, 
much  less  variety  than  the  land,  and,  therefore,  will 
be  sooner  exhausted  by  a  descriptive  writer.  When 
he  has  once  shown  the  sun  rising  or  setting  upon  it, 
curled  its  waters  with  the  vernal  breeze,  rolled  the 
waves  in  gentle  succession  to  the  shore,  and  enumer- 
ated the  fish  sporting  in  the  shallows,  he  has  nothing 
remaining  but  what  is  common  to  all  other  poetry, 
the  complaint  of  a  nymph  for  a  drowned  lover,  or 
the  indignation  of  a  fisher  that  his  oysters  are  re- 
fused, and  My  con's  accepted. 

Another  obstacle  to  the  general  reception  of  this 
kind  of  poetry,  is  the  ignorance  of  maritime  pleas- 
ures, in  which  the  greater  part  of  mankind  must  al- 
ways live.  To  all  the  inland  inhabitants  of  every 
region,  the  sea  is  only  known  as  an  immense  diffu- 
sion of  waters,  over  which  men  pass  from  one 
country  to  another,  and  in  which  life  is  frequently 
lost.  They  have,  therefore,  no  opportunity  of  tracing 
in  their  own  thoughts  the  descriptions  of  winding 
shores  and  calm  bays,  nor  can  look  on  the  poem  in 
which  they  are  mentioned  with  other  sensation 
than  on  a  sea  chart,  or  the  metrical  geography  of 

This  defect,  Sannazarius  was  hindered  from  per- 
ceiving, by  writing  in  a  learned  language  to  readers 
generally  acquainted  with  the  works  of  nature  ;  but 
if  he  had  made  his  attempt  in  any  vulgar  tongue, 
he  would  soon  have  discovered  how  vainly  he  had 
endeavoured  to  make  that  loved,  which  was  not 

I  am  afraid  it  will  not  be  found  easy  to  improve 

278  RAMBLER.  NO.    37. 

the  pastorals  of  antiquity,  by  any  great  additions  or 
diversifications.  Our  descriptions  may,  indeed,  differ 
from  those  of  Virgil,  as  an  English  from  an  Italian 
summer,  and,  in  some  respects,  as  modern  from  an- 
cient life ;  but  as  nature  is  in  both  countries  nearly 
the  same,  and  as  poetry  has  to  do  rather  with  the 
passions  of  men,  which  are  uniform,  than  their  cus- 
toms, which  are  changeable,  the  varieties,  which 
time  or  place  can  furnish,  will  be  inconsiderable ; 
and  I  shall  endeavour  to  show,  in  the  next  paper, 
how  little  the  latter  ages  have  contributed  to  the 
improvement  of  the  rustic  muse. 

No.  37.     TUESDAY,  JULY  24,  1750. 

Canto,  qim  solitus,  si  quando  armenta  vocabat, 

Aniphion  JDircceus. —  virg.  ecl.  ii.  23. 

Such  strains  I  sing  as  once  Aniphion  pla^^'d, 
When  list'ning  flocks  the  powerful  call  obey'd. 


In  writing  or  judging  of  pastoral  poetry,  neither 
the  authors  nor  critics  of  latter  times  seem  to  have 
paid  sufficient  regard  to  the  originals  left  us  by  an- 
tiquity, but  have  entangled  themselves  with  unneces- 
sary difficulties  by  advancing  principles,  which, 
havino;  no  foundation  in  the  nature  of  thino;s,  are 
wholly  to  be  rejected  from  a  species  of  composition, 
in  which,  above  all  others,  mere  nature  is  to  be  re- 

NO.    37.  RAMBLER.  -  279 

It  is,  therefore,  necessary  to  inquire  after  some 
more  distinct  and  exact  idea  of  this  kind  of  writing. 
This  may,  I  think,  be  easily  found  in  the  pastorals 
of  Yirgil,  from  whose  opinion  it  will  not  appear  very 
safe  to  depart,  if  we  consider  that  every  advantage 
of  nature,  and  of  fortune,  concuiTed  to  complete  his 
productions ;  that  he  was  born  with  great  accuracy 
and  severity  of  judgment,  enlightened  with  all  the 
learning  of  one  of  the  brightest  ages,  and  embellished 
with  the  elegance  of  the  Roman  court ;  that  he  em- 
ployed his  powers  rather  in  improving  than  invent- 
ing, and,  therefore,  must  have  endeavoured  to 
recompense  the  want  of  novelty  by  exactness ; 
that,  taking  Theocritus  for  his  original,  he  found 
pastoral  far  advanced  towards  perfection,  and  that, 
having  so  great  a  rival,  he  must  have  proceeded 
with  uncommon  caution. 

If  we  search  the  writings  of  Yirgil,  for  the  true 
definition  of  a  pastoral,  it  will  be  found  a  poem  in 
which  any  action  or  passion  is  represented  by  its 
effects  upon  a  country  life.  Whatsoever,  therefore, 
may,  according  to  the  common  course  of  things, 
happen  in  the  country,  may  afford  a  subject  for  a 
pastoral  poet. 

In  this  definition,  it  will  immediately  occur  to 
those  who  are  versed  in  the  writings  of  the  modern 
critics,  that  there  is  no  mention   of  the  golden  asre. 

'  CO 

I  cannot,  indeed,  easily  discover  why  it  is  thought 
necessary  to  refer  descriptions  of  a  rural  state  to 
remote  times,  nor  can  I  perceive  that  any  writer 
has  consistently  preserved  the  Arcadian  manners 
and  sentiments.  The  only  reason,  that  I  have  read, 
on  which  this  rule  has  been  founded,  is,  that,  ac- 
cording to  the  customs  of  modern  life,  it  is  improb- 
able that  shepherds  should  be  capable  of  harmonious 
numbers,  or  delicate  sentiments ;  and,  therefore,  the 

280  RAMBLER.  NO.    37, 

reader  must  exalt  his  ideas  of  the  pastoral  character, 
by  carrying  his  thoughts  back  to  the  age  in  which 
the  care  of  herds  and  flocks  was  the  employment  of 
the  wisest  and  greatest  men. 

Tliese  reasoners  seem  to  have  been  led  into  their 
hypothesis,  by  considering  pastoral,  not  in  general 
as  a  representation  of  rural  nature,  and  consequently 
as  exhibiting  the  ideas  and  sentiments  of  those, 
whoever  they  are,  to  whom  the  country  affords  pleas- 
ure or  employment,  but  simply  as  a  dialogue,  or 
narrative  of  men  actually  tending  sheep,  and  busied 
in  the  lowest  and  most  laborious  offices  ;  from  whence 
they  very  readily  concluded,  since  characters  must 
necessarily  be  preserved,  that  either  the  sentiments 
must  sink  to  the  level  of  the  speakers,  or  the  speakers 
must  be  raised  to  the  height  of  the  sentiments. 

In  consequence  of  these  original  errors,  a  thousand 
precepts  have  be.en  given,  which  have  only  contrib- 
uted to  perplex  and  confound.  Some  have  thought 
it  necessary  that  the  imaginary  manners  of  the  gold- 
en age  should  be  universally  preserved,  and  have, 
therefore,  believed,  that  nothing  more  could  be  ad- 
mitted in  pastoral  than  lilies  and  roses,  and  rocks 
and  streams,  among  which  are  heard  the  gentle 
whispers  of  chaste  fondness,  or  the  soft  complaints 
of  amorous  impatience.  In  pastoral,  as  in  other 
writings,  chastity  of  sentiment  ought  doubtless  to  be 
observed,  and  purity  of  manners  to  be  represented ; 
not  because  the  poet  is  confined  to  the  images  of  the 
golden  age,  but  because,  having  the  subject  in  his 
own  choice,  he  ought  always  to  consult  the  interest 
of  virtue. 

These  advocates  for  the  golden  age  lay  down 
other  principles,  not  very  consistent  with  their  gen- 
eral plan ;  for  they  tell  us,  that,  to  support  the 
character  of  the  shepherd,  it  is   proper  that  all  re- 

NO.   37.  RAMBLER.  281 

finement  should  be  avoided,  and  that  some  slight 
instances  of  ignorance  shonld  be  interspersed.  Thus 
the  shepherd  in  Virgil  is  supposed  to  have  forgot 
the  name  of  Anaximander,  and  in  Pope  the  term 
Zodiac  is  too  hard  for  a  rustic  apprehension.  But 
if  we  place  our  shepherds  in  their  primitive  condi- 
tion, we  may  give  them  learning  among  their  other 
qualifications  ;  and  if  we  suffer  them  to  allude  at  all 
to  things  of  later  existence,  which,  perhaps,  cannot 
with  any  great  propriety  be  allowed,  there  can  be 
no  danger  of  making  them  speak  with  too  much  ac- 
curacy, since  they  conversed  with  divinities,  and 
transmitted  to  succeeding  ages  the  arts  of  life. 

Other  writers,  having  the  mean  and  despicable 
condition  of  a  shepherd  always  before  them,  conceive 
it  necessary  to  degrade  the  language  of  pastoral,  by 
obsolete  terms  and  rustic  words,  which  they  very 
learnedly  call  Doric,  without  reflecting,  that  they 
thus  become  authors  of  a  mangled  dialect,  which  no 
human  being  ever  could  have  spoken,  that  they  may 
as  well  refine  the  speech  as  the  sentiments  of  their 
personages,  and  that  none  of  the  inconsistencies 
which  they  endeavour  to  avoid,  is  greater  than  that 
of  joining  elegance  of  thought  with  coarseness  of 
diction.  Spenser  begins  one  of  his  pastorals  with 
studied  barbarity :  — 

Diggon  Davie,  I  bid  hur  good-day : 
Or,  Diggon  hur  is,  or  I  missay. 
Dig.  Hur  was  hur  while  it  was  daylight, 

But  now  hur  is  a  most  wretched  wight. 

What  will  the  reader  imagine  to  be  the  subject  on 
which  speakers  like  these  exercise  their  eloquence  ? 
Will  he  not  be  somewhat  disappointed,  when  he 
finds  them  met  together  to  condemn  the  corruptions 
of  the  church  of  Rome  ?     Surely,  at  the  same  time 

282  RAMBLER.  NO.    37. 

that  a  shepherd  learns  theology,  he  may  gain  some 
acquaintance  with  his  native  language. 

Pastoral  admits  of  all  ranks  of  persons,  because 
persons  of  all  ranks  inhabit  the  country.  It  ex- 
cludes not,  therefore,  on  account  of  the  characters 
necessary  to  be  introduced,  any  elevation  or  deli- 
cacy of  sentiment ;  those  ideas  only  are  improper, 
which,  not  owing  their  original  to  rural  objects,  are 
not  pastoral.     Such  is  the  exclamation  in  Virgil, 

Nunc  scio  quid  sit  amor.    Durh  in  cautihus  ilium 
Ismarus  auf,  Rodope,  atit  extremi  Garamnntes, 
Nee  generis  nostri puerum,  nee  sanrjuinis  edunt. 

viKG.  ECL.  viii.  43. 

I  know  thee,  love,  in  deserts  thou  wert  bred, 

And  at  the  dugs  of  savage  tigers  fed; 

Alien  of  birth,  usurper  of  the  plains.  dryden. 

which  Pope  endeavouring  to  copy,  was  carried  to 
still  greater  impropriety  :  — 

I  know  thee,  love,  wild  as  the  raging  main, 
More  fierce  than  tigers  on  the  Libyan  plain ; 
Thou  wert  from  Jitna's  burning  entrails  torn, 
Begot  in  tempests,  and  in  thunders  born ! 

Sentiments  like  these,  as  they  have  no  ground  in 
nature,  are,  indeed,  of  little  value  in  any  poem;  but 
in  pastoral  they  are  particularly  liable  to  censure, 
because  it  wants  that  exaltation  above  common  life, 
which  in  tragic  or  heroic  writings  often  reconciles 
us  to  bold  flights  and  daring  figures. 

Pastoral  being  the  representation  of  an  action  or 
passion,  by  its  effects  upon  a  country  life,  has  noth- 
ing peculiar  but  its  confinement  to  rural  imagery, 
without  which  it  ceases  to  be  pastoral.  This  is  its 
true  characteristic,  and  this  it  cannot  lose  by  any 
dignity  of  sentiment  or  beauty  of  diction.  The  Pollio 

NO.   37.  RAMBLER.  283 

of  Yiro"!!,  with  all  its  elevation,  is  a  composition 
truly  bucolic,  though  rejected  by  the  critics ;  for  all 
the  images  are  either  taken  from  the  country,  or 
from  the  religion  of  the  age  common  to  all  parts  of 
the  empire. 

The  Silenus  is,  indeed,  of  a  more  disputable  kind, 
because,  though  the  scene  lies  in  the  country,  the 
sons  being  relisious  and  historical,  had  been  no  less 
adapted  to  any  other  audience  or  place.  Neither 
can  it  well  be  defended  as  a  fiction,  for  the  introduc- 
tion of  a  god  seems  to  imply  the  golden  age,  and 
yet  he  alludes  to  many  subsequent  transactions,  and 
mentions  Gallus  the  poet's  contemporary. 

It  seems  necessary  to  the  perfection  of  this  poem, 
that  the  occasion  which  is  supposed  to  produce  it,  be 
at  least  not  inconsistent  with  a  country  life,  or  less 
likely  to  interest  those  who  have  retired  into  places 
of  solitude  and  quiet,  than  the  more  busy  part  of 
mankind.  It  is,  therefore,  improper  to  give  the-  title 
of  a  pastoral  to  verses,  in  which  the  speakers,  after 
the  slight  mention  of  their  flocks,  fall  to  complaints 
of  errors  in  the  church,  and  corruptions  in  the  govern- 
ment, or  to  lamentations  of  the  death  of  some  illus- 
trious person,  whom,  when  once  the  poet  has  called 
a  shepherd,  he  has  no  longer  any  labour  upon  his 
hands,  but  can  make  the  clouds  weep,  and  lilies 
wither,  and  the  sheep  hang  their  heads,  without  art 
or  learning,  genius  or  study. 

It  is  part  of  Claudian's  character  of  his  rustic, 
that  he  computes  his  time  not  by  the  succession  of 
consuls,  but  of  harvests.  Those  who  pass  their  days 
in  retreats  distant  from  the  theatres  of  business,  are 
always  least  likely  to  hurry  their  imagination  with 
public  affairs. 

The  facility  of  treating  actions  or  events  in  the 
pastoral  style,  has  incited  many  writers,  from  whom 

284  RAMBLER.  NO.    38. 

more  judgment  might  have  been  expected,  to  put 
the  sorrow  or  the  joy  which  the  occasion  required 
into  the  mouth  of  Daphne  or  of  Thyrsis ;  and  as 
one  absurdity  must  naturally  be  expected  to  make 
way  for  another,  they  have  written  with  an  utter 
disregard  both  of  life  and  nature,  and  filled  their 
productions  with  mythological  allusions,  with  in- 
credible fictions,  and  with  sentiments  which  neither 
passion  nor  reason  could  have  dictated,  since  the 
change  which  religion  has  made  in  the  whole  sys- 
tem of  the  world. 

No.  38.     SATURDAY,  JULY  28,  1750. 

Auream  quisquis  mediocritaiem 
Diligit,  tutus  caret  obsoleti 
Soraibus  tectl ;  caret  invidenda 

Sobrius  aula.  hok.  car.  ii.  10.  6. 

The  mp.n  within  the  golden  mean, 

Who  can  his  boldest  wish  contain, 

Securely  views  the  ruin'd  cell, 

Where  sordid  want  and  sorrow  dwell; 

And  in  himself  sei-enely  great, 

Declines  an  envied  room  of  state.  francis. 

Among  many  parallels  which  men  of  imagination 
have  drawn  between  the  natural  and  moral  state  of 
the  world,  it  has  been  observed  that  happiness,  as 
well  as  virtue,  consists  in  mediocrity ;  that  to  avoid 
every  extreme  is  necessary,  even  to  him  that  has  no 
other  care  than  to  pass  through  the  present  state  with 
ease  and  safety ;  and  that  the   middle   path   is  the 

NO.   38.  RAMBLER.  285 

road  of  security,  on  either  side   of  which  are  not 
only  the  pitfalls  of  vice,  but  the  precipices  of  ruin. 

Thus  the  maxim  of  Cleobulus,  the  Lindian, 
uirpov  apiarov,  '  Mediocrity  is  best,'  has  been  long 
considered  an  universal  principle,  extended  through 
the  whole  compass  of  life  and  nature.  The  experi- 
ence of  every  age  seems  to  have  given  it  new  con- 
firmation, and  to  show  that  nothing,  however  specious 
or  alluring,  is  pursued  with  propriety,  or  enjoyed 
with  safety,  beyond  certain  limits. 

Even  the  gifts  of  nature,  which  may  truly  be  con- 
sidered as  the  most  solid  and  durable  of  all  terrestrial 
advantages,  are  found,  when  they  exceed  the  middle 
point,  to  draw  the  possessor  into  many  calamities, 
easily  avoided  by  others  that  have  been  less  bounti- 
fully enriched  or  adorned.  We  see  every  day 
women  perish  with  infamy,  by  having  been  too  will- 
ing to  set  their  beauty  to  show;  and  others,  though 
not  with  equal  guilt  or  misery,  yet  with  very  sharp 
remorse,  languishing  in  decay,  neglect,  and  obscu- 
rity, for  having  rated  their  youthful  charms  at  too 
high  a  price.  And,  indeed,  if  the  opinion  of  Bacon 
be  thought  to  deserve  much  regard,  very  few  sighs 
would  be  vented  for  eminent  and  superlative  ele- 
gance of  form  ;  '  for  beautiful  women,'  says  he,  '  are 
seldom  of  any  great  accomplishments,  because  they, 
for  the  most  part,  study  behaviour  rather  than 

Health  and  vigour,  and  a  happy  constitution  of 
the  corporeal  frame,  are  of  absolute  necessity  to  the 
enjoyment  of  the  comforts,  and  to  the  performance 
of  the  duties  of  life,  and  requisite  in  yet  a  greater 
measure  to  the  accomplishment  of  any  thing  illus- 
trious or  distinguished  ;  yet  even  these,  if  we  can 
judge  by  their  apparent  consequences,  are  some- 
times not  very  beneficial  to  those  on  whom  they  are 

286  RAMBLER.  NO.   38.. 

most  liberally  bestowed.  They  that  frequent  the 
chambers  of  the  sick,  will  generally  find  the  sharpest 
pains,  and  most  stubborn  maladies,  among  them 
whom  confidence  of  the  force  of  nature  formerly 
betrayed  to  negligence  and  irregularity ;  and  that 
superfluity  of  strength,  which  was  at  once  their 
boast  and  their  snare,  has  often,  in  the  latter  part 
of  life,  no  other  effect  than  that  it  continues  them 
long  in  impotence  and  anguish. 

These  gifts  of  nature  are,  however,  always  bless- 
ings in  themselves,  and  to  be  acknowledged  with 
gratitude  to  Him  that  gives  them ;  since  they  are,  in 
their  regular  and  legitimate  effects,  productive  of 
happiness,  and  prove  pernicious  only  by  voluntary 
corruption  or  idle  negligence.  And  as  there  is  little 
danger  of  pursuing  them  with  too  much  ardour  or 
anxiety,  because  no  skill  or  diligence  can  hope  to 
procure  them,  the  uncertainty  of  their  influence 
upon  our  lives  is  mentioned,  not  to  depreciate  their 
real  value,  but  to  repress  the  discontent  and  envy 
to  which  the  want  of  them  often  gives  occasion  in 
those  who  do  not  enough  suspect  their  own  frailty, 
nor  consider  how  much  less  is  the  calamity  of  not 
possessing  great  powers,  than  of  not  using  them 

Of  all  those  things  that  make  us  superior  to  others, 
there  is  none  so  much  within  the  reach  of  our  en- 
deavours as  riches,  nor  any  thing  more  eagerly  or 
constantly  desired.  Poverty  is  an  evil  always  in 
our  view,  an  evil  complicated  with  so  many  circum- 
stances of  uneasiness  and  vexation,  that  every  man 
is  studious  to  avoid  it.  Some  degree  of  riches  is 
therefore  required,  that  we  may  be  exempt  from 
the  gripe  of  necessity;  when  this  purpose  is  once 
attained,  we  naturally  wish  for  more,  that  the  evil 
which  is  regarded  with  so  much  horror,  may  be  yet 

NO.   38.  RAMBLER.  '  287 

at  a  greater  distance  from  us ;  as  he  that  has  once 
felt  or  dreaded  the  paw  of  a  savage,  will  not  be  at 
rest  till  they  are  parted  by  some  barrier,  which  may 
take  away  all  possibility  of  a  second  attack. 

To  this  point,  if  fear  be  not  unreasonably  indulged, 
Cleobulus  would,  perhaps,  not  refuse  to,  extend  his 
mediocrity.  But  it  almost  always  happens,  that  the 
man  who  grows  rich  changes  his  notions  of  poverty, 
states  his  wants  by  some  new  measure,  and,  from 
flying  the  enemy  that  pursued  him,  bends  his  en- 
deavours to  overtake  those  whom  he  sees  before 
him.  The  power  of  gratifying  his  appetites  increases 
their  demands ;  a  thousand  wishes  crowd  in  upon 
him,  importunate  to  be  satisfied,  and  vanity  and 
ambition  open  prospects  to  desire,  which  still  grow 
wider,  as  they  are  more  contemplated. 

Thus  in  tame  want  is  enlarged  without  bounds ; 
an  eagerness  for  increase  of  possessions  deluges  the 
soul,  and  we  sink  into  the  gulfs  of  insatiability, 
only  because  we  do  not  sufficiently  consider,  that  all 
real  need  is  very  soon  supplied,  and  all  real  danger 
of  its  invasion  easily  precluded  ;  that  the  claims  of 
vanity,  being  without  limits,  must  be  denied  at  last ; 
and  that  the  pain  of  repressing  them  is  less  pungent 
before  they  have  been  long  accustomed  to  compli- 

Whosoever  shall  look  heedfully  upon  those  who 
are  eminent  for  their  riches,  will  not  think  their 
condition  such  as  that  he  should  hazard  his  quiet, 
and  much  less  his  virtue,  to  obtain  it.  For  all  that 
great  wealth  generally  gives  above  a  moderate  for- 
tune, is  more  room  for  the  freaks  of  caprice,  and 
more  privilege  for  ignorance  and  vice,  a  quicker 
succession  of  flatteries,  and  a  larger  circle  of  volup- 

There   is    one   reason    seldom    remarked   which 

288  RAMBLER.  NO.   38. 

makes  riches  less  desirable.  Too  much  wealth  is 
very  frequently  the  occasion  of  poverty.  He  whom 
the  wantonness  of  abundance  has  once  softened,  easily 
sinks  into  neglect  of  his  affairs ;  and  he  that  thinks 
he  can  afford  to  be  negligent,  is  not  far  from  being 
poor.  He  will  soon  be  involved  in  perplexities 
which  his  inexperience  will  render  unsurmountable ; 
he  will  fly  for  help  to  those  whose  interest  it  is  that 
he  should  be  more  distressed,  and  will  be  at  last  torn 
to  pieces  by  the  vultures  that  always  hover  over  for- 
tunes in  decay. 

When  the  plains  of  India  were  burnt  up  by  a  long 
continuance  of  drought,  Hamet  and  Raschid,  two 
neighbouring  shepherds,  faint  with  thirsjt,  stood  at 
the  common  boundary  of  their  grounds,  with  their 
flocks  and  herds  panting  round  them,  and,  in  ex- 
tremity of  distress,  prayed  for  water.  On  a  sudden 
the  air  was  becalmed,  the  birds  ceased  to  chirp,  and 
the  flocks  to  bleat.  They  turned  their  eyes  every 
way,  and  saw  a  being  of  mighty  stature  advancing 
through  the  valley,  whom  they  knew  upon  his  nearer 
approach  to  be  the  Genius  of  Distribution.  In  one 
hand  he  held  the  sheaves  of  plenty,  and  in  the  other 
the  sabre  of  destruction.  The  shepherds  stood  trem- 
bling, and  would  have  retired  before  him ;  but  he 
called  to  them  with  a  voice  gentle  as  the  breeze  that 
plays  in  the  evening  among  the  spices  of  Sabaea: 
'  Fly  not  from  your  benefactor,  children  of  the  dust ! 
I  am  come  to  offer  you  gifts,  which  only  your  own 
folly  can  make  vain.  You  here  pray  for  water,  and 
water  I  will  bestow ;  let  me  know  with  how  much 
you  will  be  satisfied :  speak  not  rashly ;  consider, 
that  of  whatever  can  be  enjoyed  by  the  body,  excess 
is  no  less  dangerous  than  scarcity.  'Wlien  you 
remember  the  pain  of  thirst,  do  not  forget  the 
danger  of  suffocation.  Now,  Hamet,  tell  me  your 

NO.    38.  KAMBLER.  2^9 

'  0  Being,  kiiid  and  beneficent,'  says  Hamet,  'let 
thine  eje  pardon  mj  confusion.  I  entreat  a  little 
brook,  which  m  summer  shall  never  be  diy,  and  in 
the  winter  never  overflow.'  '  It  is  granted,'  replies 
the  Genius  ;  and  immediately  he  opened  the  ground 
with  his  sabre,  and  a  fountain  bubbling  up  under 
their  feet  scattered  its  rills  over  the  meadows ;  the 
flowers  renewed  their  fragrance,  the  trees  spread  a 
greener  foliage,  and  the  flocks  and  herds  quenched 
their  thirst. 

Then  turning  to  Raschid,  the  Genius  invited  him 
likewise  to  otfer  his  petition.  'I  request,'  says 
Raschid,  '  that  thou  wilt  turn  the  Ganges  through 
my  grounds,  with  all  his  waters,  and  all  their  inhab- 
itants.' Hamet  was  struck  with  the  greatness  of 
his  neighbour's  sentiments,  and  secretly  repined  in 
his  heart,  that  he  had  not  made  the  same  petition 
before  him  ;  when  the  Genius  spoke  :  '  Rash  man, 
be  not  insatiable !  remember,  to  thee  that  is  nothing 
which  thou  canst  not  use ;  and  how  are  thy  wants 
greater  than  the  wants  of  Hamet  ? '  Raschid  repeated 
his  desire,  and  pleased  himself  with  the  mean  ap- 
pearance that  Hamet  would  make  in  the  presence 
of  the  proprietor  of  the  Ganges.  The  Genius  then 
retired  towards  the  river,  and  the  two  shepherds 
stood  waiting  the  event.  As  Raschid  was  looking 
with  contempt  upon  his  neighbour,  on  a  sudden  was 
heard  the  roar  of  torrents,  and  they  found  by  the 
mighty  stream  that  the  mounds  of  the  Ganges  Avere 
broken.  The  flood  rolled  forward  into  the  lands  of 
Raschid,  his  plantations  were  torn  up,  his  flocks  over- 
whelmed, he  was  swept  away  before  it,  and  a  croc- 
odile devoured  him. 

VOL.   XVI.  19 

290  RAMBLER.  NO.    39. 

No.  39.     TUESDAY,  JULY  31,  1750. 

Infdvx — nulli  bene  nupta  marito.  ausonius. 

Unblest,  still  doom'd  to  wed  with  misery. 

The  condition  of  the  female  sex  has  been  fre- 
quently the  subject  of  comjDassion  to  medical  writers, 
because  their  constitution  of  body  is  such,  that  every 
state  of  life  brings  its  peculiar  diseases :  they  are 
placed,  according  to  the  proverb,  between  Scylla  and 
Charybdis,  with  no  other  choice  than  of  dangers 
equally  formidable ;  and  whether  they  embrace  mar- 
riage, or  determine  upon  a  single  life,  are  exposed, 
in  consequence  of  their  choice,  to  sickness,  misery, 
and  death. 

It  were  to  be  wished  that  so  great  degree  of  nat- 
ural mfelicity  might  not  be  increased  by  adventitious 
and  artificial  miseries  ;  and  that  beings,  whose  beauty 
we  cannot  behold  without  admiration,  and  whose 
delicacy  we  cannot  contemplate  without  tenderness, 
might  be  suffered  to  enjoy  every  alleviation  of  their 
sorrows.  But,  however  it  has  happened,  the  custom 
of  the  world  seems  to  have  been  formed  in  a  kind 
of  conspiracy  against  them,  though  it  does  not  appear 
but  they  had  themselves  an  equal  share  in  its  estabhsh- 
ment ;  and  prescriptions  which,  by  whomsoever  they 
were  begun,  are  now  of  long  continuance,  and  by 
consequence  of  great  authority,  seem  to  have  almost 
excluded  them  from  content,  in  whatsoever  condition 
they  shall  pass  their  lives. 

NO.    39.  RAMBLER.  291 

If  they  refuse  the  society  of  men,  and  continue  in 
that  state  which  is  reasonably  supposed  to  place  hap- 
piness most  in  their  own  power,  they  seldom  give 
those  that  frequent  their  conversation,  any  exalted 
notions  of  the  blessings  of  liberty ;  for  whether  it  be 
that  they  are  angry  to  see  with  what  inconsiderate 
eagerness  other  heedless  females  rush  into  slavery, 
or  with  what  absurd  vanity  the  married  ladies  boast 
the  change  of  their  condition,  and  condemn  the  hero- 
ines who  endeavour  to  assert  the  natural  dignity  of 
theu'  sex  ;  whether  they  are  conscious  that,  like  barren 
countries,  they  are  free,  only  because  they  were  never 
thought  to  deserve  the  trouble  of  a  conquest,  or  ima- 
gine that  their  smcerity  is  not  always  unsuspected, 
when  they  declare  their  contempt  of  men ;  it  is  cer- 
tain, that  they  generally  appear  to  have  some  great 
and  incessant  cause  of  uneasiness,  and  that  many  of 
them  have  at  last  been  persuaded,  by  powerful  rheto- 
ricians, to  try  the  life  which  they  have  so  long  con- 
temned, and  put  on  the  bridal  ornaments  at  a  time 
when  they  least  became  them. 

What  are  the  real  causes  of  the  impatience  which 
the  ladies  discover  in  a  virgin  state,  I  shall,  perhaps, 
take  some  other  occasion  to  examine.  That  it  is  not 
to  be  envied  for  its  happiness,  appears  from  the  soli- 
citude with  which  it  is  avoided;  from  the  oj)inion 
universally  prevalent  among  the  sex,  that  no  woman 
continues  long  in  it  but  because  she  is  not  invited  to 
forsake  it ;  from  the  disposition  always  shown  to  treat 
old  maids  as  the  refuse  of  the  world ;  and  from  the 
willingness  -v^dth  which  it  is  often  quitted  at  last,  by 
those  whose  experience  has  enabled  them  to  judge  at 
leisure,  and  decide  with  authority. 

Yet  such  is  life,  that  whatever  is  proposed,  it  is 
much  easier  to  find  reasons  for  rejectmg  than  em- 
bracing.    Marriage,  though  a  certain  security  from 

292  RAMBLER.  NO.    39. 

the  reproacli  and  solitude  of  antiquated  virginity,  has 
yet,  as  it  is  usually  conducted,  many  disadvantages, 
that  take  away  much  from  the  pleasure  which  society 
promises,  and  might  atford,  if  pleasures  and  pains 
were  honestly  shared,  and  mutual  confidence  inviola- 
bly preserved. 

The  miseries,  indeed,  wliich  many  ladies  suffer 
under  conjugal  vexations,  are  to  be  considered  with 
great  pity,  because  their  husbands  are  often  not  taken 
by  them  as  objects  of  affection,  but  forced  upon  them 
by  authority  and  violence,  or  by  persuasion  and  im- 
portunity, equally  resistless  when  urged  by  those 
whom  they  have  been  always  accustomed  to  rev- 
erence and  obey ;  and  it  very  seldom  appears,  that 
those  who  are  thus  despotic  in  the  disposal  of  their 
children  pay  any  regard  to  their  domestic  and  per- 
sonal felicity,  or  think  it  so  much  to  be  inquired 
whether  they  will  be  happy,  as  whether  they  will 
be  rich. 

It  may  be  urged,  in  extenuation  of  this  crime, 
which  parents,  not  in  any  other  respect  to  be  num- 
bered with  robbers  and  assassins,  frequently  commit, 
that,  in  their  estimation,  riches  and  happiness  are 
equivalent  terms.  They  have  passed  their  lives  with 
no  other  wish  than  that  of  adding  acre  to  acre,  and 
filling  one  bag  after  another,  and  imagine  the  advan- 
tage of  a  daughter  sufficiently  considered,  when  they 
have  secured  her  a  large  jointure,  and  given  her 
reasonable  expectations  of  living  in  the  midst  of  those 
pleasures  with  which  she  had  seen  her  father  and 
mother  solacing  their  age. 

There  is  an  economical  oracle  received  among  the 
prudential  part  of  the  world,  which  advises  fathers 
'  to  marry  their  daughters  lest  they  should  marry 
themselves  ; '  by  which  I  suppose  it  is  implied,  that 
women  left  to  their  own  conduct,  generally  unite 

NO.    39.  RAMBLER.  293 

themselves  with  such  partners  as  can  contribute  very 
little  to  theu'  felicity.  Who  was  the  author  of  this 
maxim,  or  with  what  intention  it  was  originally  ut- 
tered, I  have  not  yet  discovered  ;  but  imagine  that, 
however  solemnly  it  may  be  transmitted,  or  however 
implicitly  received,  it  can  confer  no  authority  which 
nature  has  denied,  it  cannot  license  Titius  to  be  un- 
just, lest  Caia  should  be  imprudent ;  nor  give  right 
to  imprison  for  hfe,  lest  liberty  should  be  ill  em- 

That  the  ladies  have  sometimes  incurred  imputa- 
tions which  might  naturally  produce  edicts  not  much 
in  their  favour,  must  be  confessed  by  their  warmest 
advocates  ;  and  I  have,  indeed,  seldom  observed,  that 
when  the  tenderness  or  virtue  of  their  parents  has 
preserved  them  from  forced  marriage,  and  left  them 
at  large  to  choose  their  own  path  in  the  labyrinth  of 
life,  they  have  made  any  great  advantage  of  their 
liberty ;  they  commonly  take  the  opportunity  of  in- 
dependence to  trifle  away  youth,  and  lose  their 
bloom  in  a  hurry  of  diversions,  recurrmg  in  a  suc- 
cession too  quick  to  leave  room  for  any  settled 
reflection ;  they  see  the  world  without  gaining  ex- 
perience, and  at  last  regulate  their  choice  by  motives 
trifling  as  those  of  a  girl,  or  mercenary  as  those  of 
a  miser. 

Melanthia  came  to  town  upon  the  death  of  her 
father,  with  a  very  large  fortune,  and  with  the  repu- 
tation of  a  much  larger ;  she  was,  therefore,  followed 
and  caressed  by  many  men  of  rank,  and  by  some  of 
understanding;  but  having  an  insatiable  desire  of 
pleasure,  she  was  not  at  leisure,  from  the  park,  the 
gardens,  the  theatres,  visits,  assemblies,  and  mas- 
querades, to  attend  seriously  to  any  proposal,  but  was 
still  impatient  for  a  new  flatterer,  and  neglected 
marriage  as  always  in  her  power ;  till  in  time  her 

294  RAMBLER.  NO.    39. 

admirers  fell  away,  wearied  with  expense,  disgusted 
at  her  folly,  or  offended  by  her  inconstancy ;  she 
heard  of  concerts  to  which  she  was  not  invited,  and 
was  more  than  once  forced  to  sit  still  at  an  assembly 
for  want  of  a  partner.  In  this  distress,  chance  threw 
in  her  way  Philotryphus,  a  man  vain,  glittering,  and 
thouglitless  as  herself,  who  had  spent  a  small  for- 
tune in  equipage  and  dress,  and  was  shining  m  the 
last  suit  for  which  his  tailor  would  give  him  credit. 
He  had  been  long  endeavourmg  to  retrieve  his  ex- 
travagance by  marriage,  and,  therefore,  soon  paid 
his  court  to  Melanthia,  who,  after  some  weeks  of 
insensibility,  saw  him  at  a  ball,  and  was  wholly 
overcome  by  his  performance  in  a  minuet.  They 
married ;  but  a  man  cannot  always  dance,  and  Phil- 
otryphus had  no  other  method  of  j)leasing ;  however, 
as  neither  was  in  any  great  degree  vicious,  they  live 
together  with  no  other  unhappiness  than  vacuity  of 
mind,  and  that  tastelessness  of  life,  which  proceeds 
from  a  satiety  of  juvenile  pleasures,  and  an  utter 
inability  to  fill  their  place  •  by  nobler  employments. 
As  they  have  known  the  fashionable  world  at  the 
same  time,  they  agree  in  their  notions  of  all  those 
subjects  on  which  they  ever  speak,  and  being  able 
to  add  nothing  to  the  ideas  of  each  other,  are  not 
much  inclined  to  conversation,  but  very  often  join  in 
one  wish,  '  That  they  could  sleep  more,  and  think 

Argyris,  after  having  refused  a  thousand  offers, 
at  last  consented  to  marry  Cotylus,  the  younger 
brother  of  a  duke,  a  man  without  elegance  of  mien, 
beauty  of  person,  or  force  of  understanding;  who, 
while  he  courted  her,  could  not  always  forbear  allu- 
sions to  her  birth,  and  hints  how  cheaply  she  would 
purchase  an  alliance  to  so  illustrious  a  family.  His 
conduct  from  the  hour  of  his  marriage  has  been  in- 

NO.    40.  ■  RAMBLER.  295 

sufferably  tyrannical,  nor  has  he  any  other  regard 
to  her  than  what  arises  from  his  desii'e  that  her 
appearance  may  not  disgrace  him.  Upon  this  prin- 
ciple, however,  he  always  orders  that  she  should  be 
gayly  dressed  and  splendidly  attended ;  and  she  has, 
among  all  her  mortifications,  the  happiness  to  take 
place  of  her  eldest  sister. 

No.  40.     SATURDAY,  AUGUST  4,  1750. 

— Nee  dicei,  cur  e(]0  nmicum 
Offendam  in  nugis  ?   Hoe  nugce  seria  ducent 
In  mala  derisum  semel. —  hor.  ars  poet.  450. 

Nor  say,  for  trifles  why  should  I  displease 

The  man  I  love  ?     For  trifles  such  as  these 

To  serious  mischiefs  lead  the  man  I  love, 

If  once  the  flatterer's  ridicule  he  prove.  francis. 

It  has  been  remarked  that  authors  are  genus  irri- 
tahile,  a  generation  very  easily  put  out  of  temper, 
and  that  they  seldom  fail  of  giving  proofs  of  their 
irascibility  upon  the  slightest  attack  of  criticism,  or 
the  most  gentle  or  modest  offer  of  advice  and  in- 

Writers  being  best  acquainted  with  one  another, 
have  represented  this  character  as  prevailing  among 
men  of  literature,  which  a  more  extensive  view  oi' 
the  world  w^ould  have  shown  them  to  be  diffused 
through  all  human  nature,  to  mingle  itself  with  every 
species  of  ambition  and  desire  of  praise,  and  to  dis- 
cover its   effects  with  greater  or  less  restraint,  and 

296  RAMBLER.  NO.    40. 

under  disguises  more  or  less  artful,  in  all  places  and 
all  conditions. 

The  quarrels  of  writers,  indeed,  are  more  observed, 
because  they  necessarily  appeal  to  the  decision  of 
the  public.  Their  enmities  are  incited  by  applauses 
from  their  parties,  and  prolonged  by  treacherous 
encouragement  for  general  diversion ;  and  when  the 
contest  happens  to  rise  high  between  men  of  genius 
and  learning,  its  memory  is  continued  for  the  same 
reason  as  its  vehemence  was  at  first  promoted,  be- 
cause it  gratifies  the  malevolence  or  curiosity  of 
readers,  and  relieves  the  vacancies  of  life  with  amuse- 
ment and  laughter.  The  personal  disputes,  therefore, 
of  rivals  in  wit,  are  sometimes  transmitted  to  poster- 
ity, when  the  grudges  and  heart-burnings  of  men  less 
conspicuous,  though  carried  on  with  equal  bitterness, 
and  productive  of  greater  evils,  are  exposed  to  the 
knowledge  of  those  only  Avhom  they  nearly  affect, 
and  suffered  to  pass  off  and  be  forgotten  among 
common  and  casual  transactions. 

The  resentment  which  the  discovery  of  a  fault  or 
folly  produces,  must  bear  a  certain  proportion  to  our 
pride,  and  will  regularly  be  more  acrimonious  as 
pride  is  more  immediately  the  principle  of  action. 
In  whatever,  therefore,  we  wish  or  imagine  ourselves 
to  excel,  we  shall  always  be  displeased  to  have  our 
claims  to  reputation  disputed ;  and  more  displeased, 
if  the  accomplishment  be  such  as  can  expect  reputa- 
tion only  for  its  reward.  For  this  reason,  it  is 
common  to  find  men  break  out  into  rage  at  any 
insinuations  to  the  disadvantage  of  their  wit,  who 
have  borne  with  great  patience  reflections  on  their 
morals ;  and  of  women,  it  has  been  always  known, 
that  no  censure  wounds  so  deeply,  or  rankles  so 
long,  as  that  which  charges  them  with  want  of 

NO.    40.  RAMBLER.  297 

As  men  frequently  fill  their  imaginations  with 
trifling  pursuits,  and  please  themselves  most  with 
things  of  small  importance,  I  have  often  known  very 
severe  and  lasting  malevolence  excited  by  unlucky 
censures,  which  would  have  fallen  without  any  effect, 
had  they  not  happened  to  wound  a  part  remarkably 
tender.  Gustulus,  who  valued  himself  upon  the 
nicety  of  his  palate,  disinherited  his  eldest  son  for 
tellino;  him  that  the  wine,  which  he  was  then  com- 
mending,  was  the  same  which  he  had  sent  away  the 
day  before  as  not  fit  to  be  drunk.  Proculus  with- 
drew his  kindness  from  a  nephew,  whom  he  had 
always  considered  as  the  most  promising  genius  of 
the  age,  for  haj^peniug  to  praise  in  his  presence  the 
graceful  horsemanship  of  Marius.  And  Fortunio, 
when  he  was  privy-councillor,  procured  a  clerk 
to  be  dismissed  from  one  of  the  public  offices,  in 
which  he  was  eminent  for  his  skill  and  assiduity,  be- 
cause he  had  been  heard  to  say,  that  there  was  an- 
other man  in  the  kingdom  on  whose  skill  at  billiards 
he  would  lay  his  money  against  Fortunio's. 

Felicia  and  Floretta  had  been  bred  up  in  one 
house,  and  shared  all  the  pleasures  and  endearments 
of  infancy  together.  They  entered  upon  life  at  the 
same  time,  and  continued  their  confidence  and  friend- 
ship ;  consulted  each  other  in  every  change  of  their 
dress,  and  every  admission  of  a  new  lover ;  thought 
every  diversion  more  entertaining  whenever  it  hap- 
pened that  both  were  present,  and  when  separated 
justified  the  conduct,  and  celebrated  the  excellences, 
of  one  another.  Such  was  their  intimacy,  and  such 
their  fidelity;  till  a  birthnight  approached,  when 
Floretta  took  one  morning  an  opportunity,  as  they 
were  consulting  upon  new  clothes,  to  advise  her 
friend  not  to  dance  at  the  ball,  and  informed  her  that 
her  performance  the  year  before  had  not  answered 

298  RAMBLER.  NO.   40. 

the  expectation  which  her  other  accomplishments 
had  raised.  Felicia  commended  her  sincerity,  and 
thanked  her  for  the  caution ;  but  told  her  that  she 
danced  to  please  herself,  and  was  in  very  little  con- 
cern what  the  men  might  take  the  liberty  of  saying, 
but  that  if  her  appeai"ance  gave  her  dear  Floretta 
any  uneasiness  she  would  stay  away.  Floretta  had 
now  nothing  left  but  to  make  new  protestations  of 
sincerity  and  affection,  with  which  Felicia  was  so 
well  satisfied,  that  they  parted  with  more  than  usual 
fondness.  They  still  continued  to  visit,  with  this 
only  difference,  that  Felicia  was  more  punctual  than 
before,  and  often  declared  how  high  a  value  she  put 
upon  sincerity,  how  much  she  thought  tliat  goodness 
to  be  esteemed  which  would  venture  to  admonish  a 
friend  of  an  error,  and  with  what  gratitude  advice 
was  to  be  received,  even  when  it  might  happen  to 
proceed  from  mistake. 

In  a  few  months  Felicia,  with  great  seriousness 
told  Floretta,  that  though  her  beauty  was  such  as 
gave  charms  to  whatever  she  did,  and  her  qualifica- 
tions so  extensive,  that  she  could  not  fail  of  excel- 
lence in  any  attempt,  yet  she  thought  herself  obliged 
by  the  duties  of  friendship  to  inform  her,  that  if  ever 
she  betrayed  want  of  judgment,  it  was  by  too  fre- 
quent compliance  with  solicitations  to  sing,  for  that 
her  manner  was  somewhat  ungraceful,  and  her  voice 
had  no  great  compass.  It  is  true,  says  Floretta, 
when  I  sung  three  nights  ago  at  Lady  Sprightly's, 
I  was  hoarse  with  a  cold;  but  I  sing  for  my  own. 
satisfaction,  and  am  not  in  the  least  pain  whether 
I  am  liked.  However,  my  dear  Felicia's  kindness  is 
not  the  less,  and  I  shall  always  think  myself  happy 
in  so  true  a  friend. 

From  this  time  they  never  saw  each  other  with- 
out mutual  professions  of  esteem,  and  declarations 

NO.  40.  RAMBLER.  299 

of  confidence,  but  went  soon  after  into  the  country 
to  visit  their  relations.  When  thej  came  back,  they 
were  prevailed  on,  by  the  importunity  of  new  ac- 
quaintance, to  take  lodgings  in  different  parts  of  the 
town,  and  had  frequent  occasion  when  they  met,  to 
bewail  the  distance  at  which  they  were  placed,  and 
the  uncertainty  which  each  experienced  of  finding 
the  other  at  home; 

Thus  are  the  fondest  and  firmest  friendships  dis- 
solved, by  such  openness  and  sincerity  as  interrupt 
our  enjoyment  of  our  own  approbation,  or  recall  us 
to  the  remembrance  of  those  failings  which  we  are 
more  willing  to  indulge  than  to  correct. 

It  is  by  no  means  necessary  to  imagine,  that  he 
who  is  offended  at  advice  was  ignorant  of  the  fault, 
and  resents  the  admonition  as  a  false  charge  ;  for 
perhaps  it  is  most  natural  to  be  enraged,  when  there 
is  the  strongest  conviction  of  our  own  guilt.  While 
we  can  easily  defend  our  character,  we  are  no  more 
disturbed  at  an  accusation,  than  we  are  alarmed  by 
an  enemy  whom  we  are  sure  to  conquer ;  and  whose 
attack,  therefore,  will  bring  us  honour  without  danger. 
But  when  a  man  feels  the  reprehension  of  a  friend 
seconded  by  his  own  heart,  he  is  easily  heated  into 
resentment  and  revenge,  either  because  he  hoped 
that  the  fault  of  which  he  was  conscious  had  escaped 
the  notice  of  others ;  or  that  his  friend  has  looked 
upon  it  with  tenderness  and  extenuation,  and  ex- 
cused it  for  the  sake  of  his  other  virtues ;  or  had 
considered  him  as  too  wise  to  need  advice,  or  too 
delicate  to  be  shocked  with  reproach :  or,  because 
we  cannot  feel  without  pain  those  reflections  roused, 
which  we  have  been  endeavouring  to  lay  asleep  ;  and 
when  pain  has  produced  anger,  who  would  not 
willingly  beheve,  that  it  ought  to  be  discharged  on 
others,  rather  than  on  hunself  ? 

300  RAMBLER.  NO.    40. 

The  resentment  produced  by  sincerity,  whatever 
be  its  immediate  cause,  is  so  certain,  and  generally 
80  keen,  that  very  few  have  magnanimity  sufficient 
for  the  practice  of  a  duty,  which,  above  most  others, 
exposes  its  votaries  to  hardships  and  persecutions  ; 
yet  friendship  without  it  is  of  a  very  little  value, 
since  the  great  use  of  so  close  an  intimacy,  is,  that 
our  virtues  may  be  guarded  and  encouraged,  and 
our  vices  repressed  in  their  first  appearance  by  time- 
ly detection  and  salutary  remonstrances. 

It  is  decreed  by  Providence,  that  nothing  truly 
valuable  shall  be  obtained  in  our  present  state,  but 
with  difficulty  and  danger.  He  that  hopes  for  that 
advantage  which  is  to  be  gained  from  unrestrained 
communication,  must  sometimes  hazard,  by  unpleas- 
ing  truths,  that  friendship  which  he  aspires  to  merit. 
The  chief  rule  to  be  observed  in  the  exercise  of  this 
dangerous  office,  is  to  preserve  it  pure  from  all  mixt- 
ure of  interest  or  vanity ;  to  forbear  admonition  or 
reproof,  when  our  consciences  tell  us  that  they  are 
incited,  not  by  the  hopes  of  reforming  faults,  but  the 
desire  of  showing  our  discernment,  or  gratifying  our 
own  pride  by  the  mortification  of  another.  It  is  not 
indeed  certain,  that  the  most  refined  caution  will 
find  a  proper  time  for  bringing  a  man  to  the  knowl- 
edge of  his  own  failin<2:s,  or  the  most  zealous  benev- 
olence  reconcile  him  to  that  judgment,  by  which 
they  are  detected ;  but  he  who  endeavours  only  the 
happiness  of  him  whom  he  reproves,  will  always 
have  either  the  satisfaction  of  obtaining  or  deserving 
kindness  ;  if  he  succeeds,  he  benefits  his  friend  ;  and 
if  he  fails,  he  has  at  least  the  consciousness  that  he 
suffers  for  only  doing  well. 

NO.   41.  RAMBLER.  301. 

No.  41.    TUESDAY,  AUGUST  7,  1750. 

Nulla  recordanii  lux  est  ingrata  gravisque : 

Nulla  J'uit  cujus  non  meminisse  velit. 
Ampliat  cetatis  sjMtium  sibi  vir  bonus :  hoc  est, 

Vivere  bis,  vita  posse  priore  frui. 

MART.  EP.  X.  23.  5. 

No  day's  remembrance  shall  the  good  regret, 

Nor  wish  one  bitter  moment  to  forget; 

They  stretch  the  limits  of  this  naiTow  span, 

And,  by  enjoying,  live  past  life  again.  f.  lewis. 

So  few  of  the  hours  of  life  are  filled  up  with  ob- 
jects adequate  to  the  mind  of  man,  and  so  frequently 
are  we  in  want  of  present  pleasure  or  employment, 
that  we  are  forced  to  have  recourse  every  moment 
to  the  past  and  future  for  supplemental  satisfactions, 
and  relieve  the  vacuities  of  our  being,  by  recol- 
lection of  former  passages,  or  anticipation  of  events 
to  come. 

I  cannot  but  consider  this  necessity  of  searching 
on  every  side  for  matter  on  which  the  attention  may 
be  employed,  as  a  strong  proof  of  the  superior  and 
celestial  nature  of  the  soul  of  man.  We  have  no 
reason  to  believe  that  other  creatures  have  higher 
faculties,  or  more  extensive  capacities,  than  the  pres- 
ervation of  themselves,  or  their  species,  requires ; 
they  seem  always  to  be  fully  employed,  or  to  be 
completely  at  ease  without  employment,  to  feel  few 
intellectual  miseries  or  pleasures,  and  to  have  no 
exuberance  of  understanding  to  lay  out  upon  curios- 
ity or  caprice,  but   to   have   their   minds   exactly 

302  RAMBLER.  NO.    41. 

adapted  to  their  bodies,  with  few  other  ideas  than 
such  as  corporal  pain  or  pleasure  impress  upon 

Of  memory,  which  makes  so  large  a  part  of  the 
excellence  of  the  human  soul,  and  which  has  so  much 
influence  upon  all  its  other  powers,  but  a  small  por- 
tion has  been  allotted  to  the  animal  world.  We  do 
not  find  the  grief  with  which  the  dams  lament  the 
loss  of  their  young,  proportionate  to  the  tenderness 
with  which  they  caress,  the  assiduity  with  Avhich 
they  feed,  or  the  vehemence  with  which  they  de- 
fend them.  Their  regard  for  their  offspring,  when 
it  is  before  their  eyes,  is  not,  in  appearance,  less 
than  that  of  a  human  parent ;  but  when  it  is  taken 
away,  it  is  very  soon  forgotten,  and,  after  a  short 
absence,  if  brought  again,  wholly  disregarded. 

That  they  have  very  little  remembrance  of  any 
thing  once  out  of  the  reach  of  their  senses,  and 
scarce  any  power  of  comparing  the  present  with  the 
past,  and  regulating  their  conclusions  from  ex- 
perience, may  be  gathered  from  this,  that  their  in- 
tellects are  produced  in  their  full  perfection.  The 
sparrow  that  was  hatched  last  spring  makes  her  first 
nest  the  ensuing  season  of  the  same  materials,  and 
with  the  same  art,  as  in  any  following  year ;  and  the 
hen  conducts  and  shelters  her  first  brood  of  chickens 
with  all  the  prudence  that  she  ever  attains. 

It  has  been  asked  by  men  who  love  to  perplex 
any  thing  that  is  plain  to  common  understandings, 
how  reason  differs  from  instinct ;  and  Prior  has,  Avith 
no  great  propriety,  made  Solomon  himself  declare, 
that,  to  distinguish  them,  is  the  fool's  ignorance,  and 
the  pedant's  pride.  To  give  an  accurate  answer  to 
a  question,  of  which  the  terms  are  not  completely 
understood,  is  impossible ;  we  do  not  know  in  what 
either  reason  or  instinct  consist,  and,  therefore,  can- 

NO.    41.  RAMBLER.  303 

not  tell  with  exactness  how  they  differ ;  but  surely 
he  that  contemplates  a  ship  and  a  bird's  nest,  will 
not  be  lono-  without  findino-  out,  that  the  idea  of  the 
one  was  impressed  at  once,  and  continued  through 
all  the  progressive  descents  of  the  species,  without 
variation  or  improvement ;  and  that  the  other  is  the 
result  of  experiments  compared  with  experiments, 
has  grown,  by  accumulated  observations,  from  less 
to  greater  excellence,  and  exhibits  the  collective 
knowledge  of  different  ages  and  various  professions. 

Memory  is  the  purveyor  of  reason,  the  power 
which  places  those  images  before  the  mind  upon 
which  the  judgment  is  to  be  exercised,  and  which 
treasures  u])  the  determinations  that  are  once  passed, 
as  the  rules  of  future  action,  or  grounds  of  subsequent 

It  is,  indeed,  the  faculty  of  remembrance,  which 
may  be  said  to  place  us  in  the  class  of  moral  agents. 
If  we  were  to  act  only  in  consequence  of  some  imme- 
diate impulse,  and  receive  no  direction  from  internal 
motives  of  choice,  we  should  be  pushed  forward  by 
an  invincible  fatality,  without  power  or  reason  for  the 
most  part  to  prefer  one  thing  to  another ;  because 
we  could  make  no  comparison  but  of  objects  which 
might  both  happen  to  be  present. 

We  owe  to  memory  not  only  the  increase  of  our 
knowledge,  and  our  progress  in  rational  mquiries, 
but  many  other  intellectual  pleasures.  Indeed,  al- 
most all  that  we  can  be  said  to  enjoy  is  past  or 
future  ;  the  present  is  in  perpetual  motion,  leaves  us 
as  soon  as  it  arrives,  ceases  to  be  present  before  its 
presence  is  well  perceived,  and  is  only  known  to 
have  existed  by  the  effects  which  it  leaves  behind. 
The  greatest  part  of  our  ideas  arises,  therefore,  from 
the  view  before  or  behind  us,  and  we  are  happy  or 

304  RAMBLER.  NO.   41. 

miserable,  according  as  we  are  affected  by  the  survey 
of  our  life,  or  our  prospect  of  future  existence. 

With  regard  to  futurity,  when  events  are  at  such 
a  distance  from  us,  that  we  cannot  take  the  whole 
concatenation  into  our  view,  we  have  generally  power 
enough  over  our  imagination  to  turn  it  upon  pleasing 
scenes,  and  can  promise  ourselves  riches,  honours, 
and  delights,  without  intermingling  those  vexations 
and  anxieties  with  which  all  human  enjoyments  are 
polluted.  If  fear  breaks  in  on  one  side,  and  alarms 
us  with  dangers  and  disappointments,  we  can  call  in 
hope  on  the  other,  to  solace  us  with  rewards,  and 
escapes,  and  victories ;  so  that  we  are  seldom  without 
means  of  palliating  remote  evils,  and  can  generally 
soothe  ourselves  to  tranquillity,  whenever  any  trouble- 
some presage  happens  to  attack  us. 

It  is,  therefore,  I  believe,  much  more  common  for 
the  solitary  and  thoughtful,  to  amuse  themselves  with 
schemes  of  the  future,  than  reviews  of  the  past.  For 
the  future  is  pliant  and  ductile,  and  will  be  easily 
moulded  by  a  strong  fancy  into  any  form.  But  the 
images  which  memory  presents  are  of  a  stubborn 
and  untractable  nature,  the  objects  of  remembrance 
have  already  existed,  and  left  their  signature  behind 
them  impressed  upon  the  mind,  so  as  to  defy  all 
attempts  of  rasure  or  of  change. 

As  the  satisfactions,  therefore,  arising  from  mem- 
ory are  less  arbitrary,  they  are  more  solid,  and 
are,  indeed,  the  only  joys  which  we  can  call  our 
own.  Whatever  we  have  once  reposited,  as  Dryden 
expresses  it,  in  the  secret  treasure  of  the  past,  is 
out  of  the  reach  of  accident,  or  violence,  nor  can 
be  lost  either  by  our  own  weakness,  or  another's 
malice :  — 

— Non  tamen  irritum 
Quodcunque  retro  est  efficiet :  neque 

NO.    41.  RAMBLER.  305 

Diffinyet,  infecfumque  reddet, 
Quod  fugiens  semel  hora  vexif. 

HOE.  CAR.  iii.  29.  45. 

Be  fair  or  foul,  or  rain  or  shine, 

The  joys  I  have  possess' d  in  spite  of  fate  are  mine. 
Not  heaven  itself  upon  the  past  has  power. 
But  what  has  been  has  been,  and  I  have  had  my  hour. 


There  is  certainly  no  greater  happiness  than  to 
be  able  to  look  back  on  a  life  usefully  and  vu-tuously 
employed,  to  trace  our  own  progress  in  existence,  by 
such  tokens  as  excite  neither  shame  nor  sorrow. 
Life,  in  which  nothing  has  been  done  or  suffered  to 
distinguish  one  day  from  another,  is  to  him  that  has 
passed  it  as  if  it  had  never  been,  except  that  he  is 
conscious  how  ill  he  has  husbanded  the  great  deposit 
of  his  Creator.  Life,  made  memorable  by  crimes, 
and  diversified  through  its  several  periods  by  wick- 
edness, is,  indeed,  easily  reviewed,  but  reviewed  only 
with  horror  and  remorse. 

The  great  consideration  which  ought  to  influence 
us  in  the  use  of  the  present  moment,  is  to  arise  from 
the  effect,  which,  as  well  or  ill  applied,  it  must  have 
upon  the  time  to  come ;  for  though  its  actual  exist- 
ence be  inconceivably  short,  yet  its  effects  are  unlim- 
ited; and  there  is  not  the  smallest  point  of  time 
but  may  extend  its  consequences,  either  to  our  hurt 
or  our  advantage,  through  all  eternity,  and  give  us 
reason  to  remember  it  forever,  with  anguish  or 

The  time  of  life,  in  which  memory  seems  particu- 
larly to  claim  predominance  over  the  other  faculties 
of  the  mind,  is  our  declining  age.  It  has  been  re- 
marked by  former  writers,  that  old  men  are  gener- 
ally narrative,  and  fall  easily  into  recitals  of  past 
transactions,  and  accounts  of  persons  known  to  them 

VOL.   XVI.  20 

306  RAMBLER.  NO.    41. 

in  their  youth.     When  we  approach  the  verge  of  the 
grave  it  is  more  eminently  true :  — 

Vitce  summa  brevis  spem  nos  vetat  inchoare  longam. 

HOK.  CAR.  i.  4.  15. 

Life's  span  forbids  thee  to  extend  thy  cares, 

And  stretch  thy  hopes  beyond  thy  years.  creech. 

We  have  no  longer  any  possibility  of  great  vicis- 
situdes in  our  favour;  the  changes  which  are  to 
happen  in  the  world  will  come  too  late  for  our  ac- 
commodation; and  those  who  have  no  hope  before 
them,  and  to  whom  their  present  state  is  painful  and 
irksome,  must  of  necessity  turn  their  thoughts  back 
to  try  what  retrospect  will  afford.  It  ought,  there- 
fore, to  be  the  care  of  those  who  wish  to  pass  the 
last  hours  with  comfort,  to  lay  up  such  a  treasure  of 
pleasing  ideas,  as  shall  support  the  expenses  of  that 
time,  which  is  to  depend  wholly  upon  the  fund  al- 
ready acquired. 

— Petite  hinc^juvenesque  senesque 
Finem  animo  cerium,  miserisque  viatica  curis 

Seek  here,  ye  young,  the  anchor  of  your  mind ; 
Here,  suflfering  age,  a  bless' d  provision  find. 


In  youth,  however  unhappy,  we  solace  ourselves 
with  the  hope  of  better  fortune,  and  however  vicious, 
appease  our  consciences  with  intentions  of  repent- 
ance ;  but  the  time  comes  at  last,  in  which  life  has 
no  more  to  promise,  in  which  happiness  can  be  drawn 
only  from  recollection,  and  virtue  will  be  all  that  we 
can  recollect  with  pleasure. 

NO.   42.  RAMBLER.  307 

No.  42.     SATURDAY,  AUGUST  11,  1750. 

— JUihi  tarda  fluuni  ingrataque  tempora. — 

HOE.  EPIST.  i.  1.  23. 

How  heavily  my  time  revolves  along.         elphin'ston. 

"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 
"mr.  kambler, 

"I  AM  no  great  admirer  of  grave  writings,  and, 
therefore,  very  frequently  lay  your  papers  aside  be- 
fore I  have  read  them  through ;  yet  I  cannot  but 
confess  that,  by  slow  degrees,  you  have  raised  my 
opmion  of  your  understanding,  and  that,  though  I 
believe  it  will  be  long  before  I  can  be  prevailed  upon 
to  regard  you  with  much  kindness,  you  have,  how- 
ever, more  of  my  esteem  than  those  whom  I  some- 
times make  happy  with  opportunities  to  fill  my 
teapot,  or  pick  up  my  fan.  I  shall,  therefore,  choose 
you  for  the  confidant  of  my  distresses,  and  ask  your 
counsel  with  regard  to  the  means  of  conquering  or 
escaping  them,  though  I  never  expect  from  you'any 
of  that  softness  and  pliancy,  which  constitutes  the 
perfection  of  a  companion  for  the  ladies  ;  as,  in  the 
place  where  I  now  am,  I  have  recourse  to  the  mastiflf 
for  protection,  though  I  have  no  intention  of  making 
him  a  lapdog. 

"  My  mamma  is  a  very  fine  lady,  who  has  more 
numerous  and  more  frequent  assembHes  at  our  house, 
than  any  other  person  in  the  same  quarter  of  the 
town.     I   was   bred  from  my  earliest  infancy  in  a 

308  RAMBLER.  NO.    42. 

perpetual  tumult  of  pleasure,  and  remember  to  have 
heard  of  little  else  than  messages,  visits,  play-houses, 
and  balls ;  of  the  awkwardness  of  one  woman,  and 
the  coquetry  of  another  ;  the  charming  convenience 
of  some  rising  fashion,  the  difficulty  of  playing  a  new 
game,  the  incidents  of  a  masquerade,  and  the  dresses 
of  a  court-night.  I  knew  before  I  was  ten  years  old 
all  the  rules  of  paying  and  receiving  visits,  and  to 
how  much  civility  every  one  of  my  acquaintance 
was  entitled :  and  was  able  to  return,  with  the  proper 
degree  of  reserve,  or  of  vivacity,  the  stated  and  estab- 
lished answer  to  every  compliment;  so  that  I  was 
very  soon  celebrated  as  a  wit  and  a  beauty,  and  had 
heard  before  I  was  thirteen  all  that  is  ever  said 
to  a  young  lady.  My  mother  was  generous  to  so 
uncommon  a  degree  as  to  be  pleased  with  my  ad- 
vance into  life,  and  allowed  me,  without  envy  or 
reproof,  to  enjoy  the  same  happiness  with  herself; 
though  most  women  about  her  own  age  were  very 
angry  to  see  young  girls  so  forward,  and  many  fine 
gentlemen  told  her  how  cruel  it  was  to  throw  new 
chains  upon  mankind,  and  to  tyrannize  over  them  at 
the  same  time  with  her  own  charms,  and  those  of 
her  daughter. 

"  I  have  now  lived  two  and  twenty  years,  and 
have  passed  of  each  year  nine  months  in  town,  and 
three  at  Richmond ;  so  that  my  time  has  been  spent 
uniformly  in  the  same  company,  and  the  same 
amusements,  except  as  fashion  has  introduced  new 
diversions,  or  the  revolutions  of  the  gay  world  have 
afforded  new  successions  of  wits  and  beaus.  How- 
ever, my  mother  is  so  good  an  economist  of  pleasure, 
that  I  have  no  spare  hours  upon  my  hands ;  for 
every  morning  brings  some  new  appointment,  and 
every  night  is  hurried  away  by  the  necessity  of 
making  our  appearance  at  different  places,  and  of 

NO.    42.  RAMBLER.  309 

being  with  one  lady  at  the  opera,  and  with  another 
at  the  card-table. 

"  When  the  time  came  of  settling  our  scheme  of 
felicity  for  the  summer,  it  was  determined  that  I 
should  pay  a  visit  to  a  rich  aunt  in  a  remote  country. 
As  you  know  the  chief  conversation  of  all  tea-tables, 
in  the  spring,  arises  from  a  communication  of  the 
manner  in  which  time  is  to  be  passed  till  winter,  it 
was  a  great  rehef  to  the  barrenness  of  our  topics,  to 
relate  the  pleasures  that  were  in  store  for  me,  to 
describe  my  uncle's  seat,  with  the  park  and  gardens, 
the  charming  walks  and  beautiful  waterfalls ;  and 
every  one  told  me  how  much  she  envied  me,  and 
what  satisfaction  she  had  once  enjoyed  in  a  situation 
of  the  same  kind. 

"  As  we  are  all  credulous  in  our  own  favour,  and 
wilUng  to  imagine  some  latent  satisfaction  in  any 
thing  which  we  have  not  experienced,  I  will  confess 
to  you,  without  restraint,  that  I  had  suffered  my 
head  to  be  filled  with  expectations  of  some  nameless 
pleasure  in  a  rural  Hfe,  and  that  I  hoped  for  the 
happy  hour  that  should  set  me  free  from  noise,  and 
flutter,  and  ceremony,  dismiss  me  to  the  peaceful 
shade,  and  lull  me  in  content  and  tranquillity.  To 
solace  myself  under  the  misery  of  delay,  I  some- 
times heard  a  studious  lady  of  my  acquaintance  read 
pastorals,  I  was  delighted  with  scarce  any  talk  but 
of  leaving  the  town,  and  never  went  to  bed  with- 
out dreaming  of  groves,  and  meadows,  and  frisking 

"  At  length  I  had  all  my  clothes  in  a  trunk,  and 
saw  the  coach  at  the  door  ;  I  sprung  in  with  ecstasy, 
quarrelled  with  my  maid  for  being  too  long  in  tak- 
ing leave  of  the  other  servants,  and  rejoiced  as  the 
ground  grew  less  which  lay  between  me  and  the 
completion  of  my  wishes.     A  few  days  brought  me 

310  RAMBLER.  NO.    42. 

to  a  large  old  house,  encompassed  on  three  sides 
with  woody  hills,  and  looking  from  the  front  on  a 
gentle  river,  the  sight  of  which  renewed  all  my  ex- 
pectations of  pleasure,  and  gave  me  some  regret  for 
having  lived  so  long  without  the  enjoyment  which 
these  delightful  scenes  were  now  to  afford  me.  My 
aunt  came  out  to  receive  me,  but  in  a  dress  so  far 
removed  from  the  present  fashion,  that  I  could 
scarcely  look  upon  her  without  laughter,  which 
would  have  been  no  kind  requital  for  the  trouble 
which  she  had  taken  to  make  herself  fine  against 
my  arrival.  The  night  and  the  next  morning  were 
driven  along  with  inquiries  about  our  family ;  my 
aunt  then  explained  our  pedigree,  and  told  me  stories 
of  my  great-grandfather's  bravery  in  the  civil  wars ; 
nor  was  it  less  than  three  days  before  1  could  per- 
suade her  to  leave  me  to  myself. 

"  At  last,  economy  prevailed ;  she  went  in  the 
usual  manner  about  her  own  affairs,  and  I  was  at 
liberty  to  range  in  the  wilderness,  and  sit  by  the 
cascade.  The  novelty  of  the  objects  about  me 
pleased  me  for  a  while,  but  after  a  few  days  they 
were  new  no  longer,  and  I  soon  began  to  perceive 
that  the  country  was  not  my  element ;  that  shades, 
and  flowers,  and  lawns,  and  waters,  had  very  soon 
exhausted  all  their  power  of  pleasing,  and  that  I 
had  not  in  myself  any  fund  of  satisfaction  with  which 
I  could  supply  the  loss  of  my  customary  amuse- 

"  I  unhappily  told  my  aunt,  in  the  first  warmth  of 
our  embraces,  that  I  had  leave  to  stay  with  her  ten 
weeks.  Six  only  are  yet  gone,  and  how  shall  I  live 
through  the  remaining  four  ?  I  go  out  and  return ;  I 
pluck  a  flower,  and  throw  it  away;  I  catch  an  insect, 
and  when  I  have  examined  its  colours,  set  it  at 
liberty ;  I  fling  a  pebble  mto  the  water,  and  see  one 

NO.    42.  RAMBLER.  311 

circle  spread  after  anotlier.  "When  it  chances  to 
rain,  I  walk  in  the  great  hall,  and  watch  the  minute- 
hand  upon  the  dial,  or  play  with  a  litter  of  kittens, 
which  the  cat  happens  to  have  brought  in  a  lucky 

"  My  aimt  is  afraid  I  shall  grow  melancholy,  and 
therefore  encourages  the  neighbonring  gentry  to  visit 
us.  They  came  at  first  with  great  eagerness  to  see 
the  fine  lady  from  London,  but  when  ^e  met,  we 
had  no  common  topic  on  which  we  could  converse ; 
they  had  no  curiosity  after  plays,  operas,  or  music ; 
and  I  find  as  little  satisfaction  from  theu'  accounts 
of  the  quarrels  or  alliances  of  families,  whose  names, 
when  once  I  can  escape,  I  shall  never  hear.  The 
women  have  now  seen  me,  know  how  my  gown  is 
made,  and  are  satisfied ;  the  men  are  generally  afraid 
of  me,  and  say  little,  because  they  think  themselves 
not  at  liberty  to  talk  rudely. 

"  Thus  I  am  condemned  to  solitude ;  the  day 
moves  slowly  forward,  and  I  see  the  dawn  with 
uneasiness,  because  I  consider  that  night  is  at  a 
great  distance.  I  have  tried  to  sleep  by  a  brook, 
but  find  its  murmurs  meffectual ;  so  that  I  am  forced 
to  be  awake  at  least  twelve  hours,  without  visits, 
without  cards,  without  laughter,  and  without  flattery. 
I  walk  because  1  am  disgusted  with  sitting  still,  and 
sit  down  because  I  am  weary  with  walking.  1  have 
no  motive  to  action,  nor  any  object  of  love,  or  hate, 
or  fear,  or  inchnation.  I  caimot  dress  with  sj)irit, 
for  I  have  neither  rival  nor  admirer.  I  cannot 
dance  without  a  partner,  nor  be  kind,  nor  cruel, 
without  a  lover. 

"  Such  is  the  life  of  Euphelia,  and  such  it  is  likely 
to  continue  for  a  month  to  come.  I  have  not  yet 
declared  agamst  existence,  nor  called  upon  the 
Destinies  to  cut  my  thread ;  but  I  have  sincerely 

312  RAMBLER.  NO.    43. 

resolved  not  to  condemn  myself  to  such  another 
summer,  nor  too  hastily  to  flatter  myself  with  happi- 
ness. Yet  I  have  heard,  Mr.  Rambler,  of  those 
who  never  thought  themselves  so  much  at  ease  as  in 
solitude,  and  cannot  but  suspect  it  to  be  some  way 
or  other  my  own  fault,  that,  without  great  pain, 
either  of  mind  or  body,  I  am  thus  weary  of  myself: 
that  the  current  of  youth  stagnates,  and  that  I  am 
languishing  in  a  dead  calm,  for  want  of  some  ex- 
ternal impulse.  I  shall  therefore  think  you  a  bene- 
factor to  our  sex,  if  you  will  teach  me  the  art  of 
living  alone  ;  for  I  am  confident  that  a  thousand  and 
a  thousand  and  a  thousand  ladies,  who  affect  to  talk 
with  ecstasies  of  the  pleasures  of  the  country,  are  in 
reality,  like  me,  longing  for  the  winter,  and  wishing 
to  be  delivered  from  themselves  by  company  and 

"  I  am,  Sir,  Yours, 


No.  43.     TUESDAY,  AUGUST  14,  1750. 

Flumine  perpetuo  torrens  solet  acrius  ire, 

Sed  tanien  Jubc  brevis  est,  ilia  jperennis  aqua.         oviD. 

In  course  impetuous  soon  the  torrent  dries ; 
The  brook  a  constant  peaceful  stream  suppUes. 


It  is  observed  by  those  Avho  have  written  on  the 
constitution  of  the  human  body,  and  the  original  of 
those  diseases  by  which  it  is   afflicted,  that  every 

NO.    43.  RAMBLER.  313 

man  comes  into  the  world  morbid,  that  there  is  no 
temperature  so  exactly  regulated  but  that  some  hu- 
mour is  fatally  predominant,  and  that  we  are  gen- 
erally impregnated,  in  our  first  entrance  upon  life, 
with  the  seeds  of  that  malady,  which,  m  time,  shall 
brino^  us  to  the  grave. 

This  remark  has  been  extended  by  others  to  the 
intellectual  faculties.  Some,  that  imagine  themselves 
to  have  looked  with  more  than  common  penetration 
into  human  nature,  have  endeavoured  to  persuade 
us  that  each  man  is  born  with  a  mind  formed  pe- 
cuharly  for  certain  purposes,  and  with  desires  unal- 
terably determined  to  particular  objects,  from  which 
the  attention  camiot  be  long  diverted,  and  which 
alone,  as  they  are  well  or  ill  pursued,  must  produce 
the  praise  or  blame,  the  happiness  or  misery,  of  his 
future  life. 

This  position  has  not,  indeed,  been  hitherto  proved 
with  strength  proportionate  to  the  assurance  with 
which  it  has  been  advanced,  and,  perhaps,  will  never 
gain  much  j)revalence  by  a  close  examination. 

If  the  doctrine  of  innate  ideas  be  itself  disputable, 
there  seems  to  be  little  hoj)e  of  establishing  an  opin- 
ion, which  supposes  that  even  complications  of  ideas 
have  been  given  us  at  our  birth,  and  that  we  are 
made  by  nature  ambitious  or  covetous,  before  we 
know  the  meaning  of  either  power  or  money. 

Yet  as  every  step  in  the  progression  of  existence 
changes  our  position  with  respect  to  the  things  about 
us,  so  as  to  lay  us  open  to  new  assaults  and  j^articu- 
lar  dangers,  and  subjects  us  to  mconveniences  from 
which  any  other  situation  is  exempt ;  as  a  public  or 
a  private  life,  youth  and  age,  wealth  and  poverty, 
have  all  some  evil  closely  adherent,  which  cannot 
wholly  be  escaped  but  by  quitting  the  state  to  which 
it  is  annexed,  and  submitting  to  the  incumbrances 

314  RAMBLER.  NO.   43. 

of  some  other  condition  :  so  it  cannot  be  denied  that 
every  difference  in  the  structure  of  the  mind  has  its 
advantages  and  its  wants  ;  and  that  failures  and  de- 
fects being  inseparable  from  humanity,  however  the 
powers  of  understanding  be  extended  or  contracted, 
there  will  on  one  side  or  the  other  always  be  an 
avenue  to  error  and  miscarriage. 

There  seem  to  be  some  souls  suited  to  great,  and 
others  to  little  employments ;  some  formed  to  soar 
aloft,  and  take  in  wide  views,  and  others  to  grovel 
on  the  ground,  and  confine  then*  regard  to  a  narrow 
sphere.  Of  these  the  one  is  always  in  danger  of 
becoming  useless  by  a  daring  negligence,  the  other 
by  a  scrupulous  solicitude ;  the  one  collects  many 
ideas,  but  confused  and  indistinct ;  the  other  is 
busied  in  minute  accuracy,  but  without  compass  and 
without  dignitv. 

The  general  error  of  those  who  possess  powerful 
and  elevated  understandings,  is,  that  they  form 
schemes  of  too  great  extent,  and  flatter  themselves 
too  hastily  with  success  ;  they  feel  their  own  force 
to  be  great,  and,  by  the  complacency  with  which 
every  man  surveys  himself,  imagine  it  still  greater : 
they,  therefore,  look  out  for  undertakings  worthy  of 
their  abilities,  and  engage  in  them  with  very  little 
precaution ;  for  they  imagine  that,  without  premedi- 
tated measures,  they  shall  be  able  to  find  expedients 
in  all  difficulties.  They  are  naturally  apt  to  con- 
sider all  prudential  maxims  as  below  their  regard,  to 
treat  with  contempt  those  securities  and  resources 
which  others  know  themselves  obliged  to  provide, 
and  disdain  to  accomplish  their  purposes  by  estab- 
lished means,  and  common  gradations. 

Precipitation  thus  incited  by  the  pride  of  intellec- 
tual superiority,  is  very  fatal  to  great  designs.  The 
resolution  of  the  combat  is  seldom  equal  to  the  vehe- 

NO.    43.  RAMBLER.  315 

mence  of  the  charge.  He  that  meets  with  an  oppo- 
sition which  he  did  not  expect,  loses  his  courage. 
The  violence  of  his  first  onset  is  succeeded  by  a  last- 
ing and  unconquerable  languor  ;  miscarriage  makes 
him  fearful  of  giving  way  to  new  hopes  :  and  the 
contemplation  of  an  attempt,  in  which  he  has  fallen 
below  his  own  expectations,  is  painful  and  vexatious ; 
he  therefore  naturally  turns  his  attention  to  more 
pleasing  objects,  and  habituates  his  imagination  to 
other  entertaiments,  till,  by  slow  degrees,  he  quits 
his  fii'st  pursuit,  and  suffers  some  other  project  to 
take  possession  of  his  thoughts,  in  which  the  same 
ardour  of  mmd  promises  him  again  certain  success, 
and  which  disappointments  of  the  same  kind  compel 
him  to  abandon. 

Thus  too  much  vigour  in  the  beginning  of  an  un- 
dertakmg,  often  intercepts  and  prevents  the  steadi- 
ness and  j)erseverance  always  necessary  in  the  con- 
duct of  a  complicated  scheme,  where  many  interests 
are  to  be  connected,  many  movements  to  be  adjusted, 
and  the  joint  effort  of  distinct  and  independent 
powers  to  be  directed  to  a  single  point.  In  aU  im- 
portant events  which  have  been  suddenly  brought 
to  pass,  chance  has  been  the  agent  rather  than  rea- 
son ;  and,  therefore,  however  those,  who  seemed  to 
preside  in  the  transaction,  may  have  been  celebrated 
by  such  as  loved  or  feared  them,  succeeding  times 
have  commonly  considered  them  as  fortunate  rather 
than  prudent.  Every  design  in  which  the  connec- 
tion is  regularly  traced,  from  the  first  motion  to  the 
last,  must  be  formed  and  executed  by  cahn  intrepid- 
ity, and  requires  not  only  courage  which  danger 
cannot  turn  aside,  but  constancy  which  fatigues  can- 
not weary,  and  contrivance  which  impediments  can- 
not exhaust. 

AU  the  performances  of  human  art,  at  which  we 
look  with  praise  or  wonder,  are  instances  of  the  re- 

316  RAMBLER.  NO.    43. 

sistless  force  of  perseverance  :  it  is  by  this  that  the 
quarrj  becomes  a  pyramid,  and  that  distant  coun- 
tries are  united  with  canals.  If  a  man  was  to  com- 
pare the  effect  of  a  single  stroke  of  the  pickaxe,  or 
of  one  impression  of  the  spade,  with  the  general 
design  and  last  result,  he  would  be  overwhelmed  by 
the  sense  of  their  dis^^roportion  ;  yet  those  petty 
operations,  incessantly  continued,  in  time  surmount 
the  greatest  difficulties,  and  mountains  are  levelled, 
and  oceans  bounded,  by  the  slender  force  of  human 

It  is,  therefore,  of  the  utmost  importance  that 
those  who  have  any  intention  of  deviating  from  the 
beaten  roads  of  life,  and  acquiring  a  reputation  su- 
perior to  names  hourly  swept  away  by  time  among 
the  refuse  of  fame,  should  add  to  their  reason,  and 
their  spirit,  the  power  of  persisting  in  their  pur- 
poses ;  acquire  the  art  of  sapping  what  they  cannot 
batter ;  and  the  habit  of  vanquishing  obstinate  re- 
sistance by  obstinate  attacks. 

The  student  who  would  build  his  knowledge  on 
solid  foundations,  and  proceed  by  just  degrees  to  the 
pmnacles  of  truth,  is  directed  by  the  great  philoso- 
pher of  France  to  begin  by  doubting  of  his  own 
existence.  In  like  manner,  whoever  would  com- 
plete any  arduous  and  intricate  enterprise,  should,  as 
soon  as  his  imagination  can  cool  afler  the  first  blaze 
of  hope,  place  before  his  own  eyes  every  possible 
embarrassment  that  may  retard  or  defeat  him.  He 
should  first  question  the  probability  of  success,  and 
then  endeavour  to  remove  the  objections  that  he  has 
raised.  "  It  is  proper,"  says  old  Markham,  "  to  ex- 
ercise your  horse  on  the  more  inconvenient  side  of 
the  course,  that  if  he  should,  in  the  race,  be  forced 
upon  it,  he  may  not  be  discouraged :  "  and  Horace 
advises  his  poetical  friend  to  consider  every  day  as 
the  last  which  he  shall  enjoy,  because  that  will  al- 

NO.    43.  RAMBLER.  317 

ways  give  pleasure  wliicli  we  receive  beyond  our 
hopes.  If  we  alarm  ourselves  beforehand  with  more 
difficulties  than  we  really  find,  we  shall  be  animated 
by  unexpected  facility  with  double  spirit ;  and  if  we 
fijid  our  cautions  and  fears  justified  by  the  conse- 
quence, there  will,  however,  happen  nothing  against 
which  pro^dsion  has  not  been  made,  no  sudden  shock 
will  be  received,  nor  will  the  main  scheme  be  dis- 

There  is,  indeed,  some  danger  lest  he  that  too 
scrupulously  balances  probabilities,  and  too  perspi- 
caciously  foresees  obstacles,  should  remain  always 
in  a  state  of  inaction,  without  venturing  upon  at- 
temj)ts  on  which  he  may,  perhaps,  spend  his  labour 
without  advantage.  But  previous  despondence  is 
not  the  fault  of  those  for  whom  this  essay  is  de- 
signed ;  they  who  require  to  be  warned  agamst  pre- 
cipitation, will  not  suffer  more  fear  to  intrude  into 
their  contemplations  than  is  necessary  to  allay  the 
effervescence  of  an  agitated  fancy.  As  Des  Cartes 
has  kindly  shown  how  a  man  may  prove  to  himself 
his  own  existence,  if  once  he  can  be  prevailed  upon 
to  question  it,  so  the  ardent  and  adventm-ous  will 
not  be  long  without  findmg  some  plausible  extenua- 
tion of  the  greatest  difficulties.  Such,  indeed,  is  the 
uncertainty  of  all  human  affairs,  that  security  and 
despair  are  equal  follies,  and  as  it  is  presumption 
and  arrogance  to  anticipate  triumphs,  it  is  weakness 
and  cowardice  to  prognosticate  miscarriages.  The 
numbers  that  have  been  stopped  in  their  career  of 
happiness  are  sufficient  to  show  the  uncertainty  of 
human  foresight ;  but  there  are  not  wanting  con- 
trary instances  of  such  success  obtained  against  all 
appearance,  as  may  warrant  the  boldest  flights  of 
genius,  if  they  are  supported  by  unshaken  persever- 

318  RAMBLER.  NO.    44. 

No.  44.     SATURDAY,  AUGUST  18,  1750. 

'Ovap  kK  Aibg  hari.  homek. 

— Dreams  descend  from  Jove.  pope. 

"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 

"  SIR, 

I  HAD  lately  a  very  remarkable  dream,  which  made 
so  strong  an  impression  on  me,  that  I  remember  it 
every  word ;  and  if  you  are  not  better  employed, 
you  may  read  the  relation  of  it  as  follows  : — 

"  Methought  I  was  in  the  midst  of  a  very  enter- 
taining set  of  company,  and  extremely  delighted  in 
attending  to  a  lively  conversation,  when  on  a  sudden 
I  perceived  one  of  the  most  shocking  figures  ima- 
gination can  frame,  advancing  towards  me.  She 
was  dressed  in  black,  her  skin  was  contracted  into  a 
thousand  wrmkles,  her  eyes  deep  sunk  in  her  head, 
and  her  complexion  pale  and  livid  as  the  countenance 
of  death.  Her  looks  were  filled  with  terror  and  un- 
relenting severity,  and  her  hands  armed  with  whips 
and  scorpions.  As  soon  as  she  came  near,  with  a 
horrid  frown,  and  a  voice  that  chilled  my  very  blood, 
she  bid  me  follow  her.  I  obeyed,  and  she  led  me 
through  rugged  paths,  beset  with  briers  and  thorns, 
into  a  deep  solitary  valley.  Wherever  she  passed 
the  fadmg  verdure  withered  beneath  her  steps  ;  her 
pestilential  breath  infected  the  air  with  maHgnant 
vapours,  obscured  the  lustre  of  the  sun,  and  involved 
the  fair  face  of  heaven  in  universal  gloom.     Dismal 

NO.   44.  RAMBLER.  319 

howlings  resounded  througli  the  forest,  from  every 
baleful  tree  tlie  night-raven  uttered  his  dreadful 
note,  and  the  prospect  was  filled  with  desolation 
and  horror.  In  the  midst  of  this  tremendous  scene, 
my  execrable  guide  addi-essed  me  in  the  following 
manner  : — 

'  Retire  with  me,  O  rash  unthinking  mortal,  from 
the  vain  allurements  of  a  deceitful  world,  and  learn 
that  pleasure  was  not  designed  the  portion  of  human 
life.  Man  was  born  to  mourn  and  to  be  wretched  ; 
this  is  the  condition  of  all  below  the  stars,  and  who- 
ever endeavours  to  oppose  it,  acts  in  contradiction 
to  the  will  of  Heaven.  Fly,  then,  from  the  fatal 
enchantments  of  youth  and  social  delight,  and  here 
consecrate  the  solitary  hours  to  lamentation  and  woe. 
Misery  is  the  duty  of  all  sublunary  beings,  and 
every  enjoyment  is  an  offence  to  the  Deity,  who  is 
to  be  worshipped  only  by  the  mortification  of  every 
sense  of  pleasure,  and  the  everlasting  exercise  of 
sighs  and  tears.' 

"  This  melancholy  picture  of  life  quite  sunk  my 
spirits,  and  seemed  to  annihilate  every  j)rinciple  of 
joy  within  me.  I  threw  myself  beneath  a  blasted 
yew,  where  the  winds  blew  cold  and  dismal  round 
my  head,  and  dreadful  apprehensions  chilled  my 
heart.  Here  I  resolved  to  lie  till  the  hand  of  death, 
which  I  impatiently  mvoked,  should  put  an  end  to 
the  miseries  of  a  life  so  deplorably  wretched.  In 
this  sad  situation  I  espied  on  one  hand  of  me  a  deep 
muddy  river,  whose  heavy  waves  rolled  on  in  slow 
sullen  murmurs.  Here  I  determined  to  plunge,  and 
was  just  upon  the  brink,  when  I  found  myself  sud- 
denly dra^vn  back.  I  turned  about,  and  was  sur- 
prised by  the  sight  of  the  loveliest  object  I  had  ever 
beheld.  The  most  engaging  charms  of  youth  and 
beauty  appeared  in  all  her  form  :  effulgent  glories 

320  RAMBLER.  NO.  44. 

sparkled  in  her  eyes,  and  tlieir  awful  splendours 
were  softened  by  the  gentlest  looks  of  compassion 
and  peace.  At  her  approach  the  frightful  sj)ectre, 
who  had  before  tormented  me,  vanished  away,  and 
with  her  all  the  horrors  she  had  caused.  The 
gloomy  clouds  brightened  into  cheerful  sunshine,  the 
groves  recovered  their  verdure,  and  the  whole  re- 
gion looked  gay  and  blooming  as  the  garden  of  Eden. 
I  was  quite  transported  at  this  unexpected  change, 
and  reviving  pleasure  began  to  glad  my  thoughts, 
when,  with  a  look  of  inexpressible  sweetness,  my 
beauteous  deliverer  thus  uttered  her  divine  instruc- 
tions : — 

'  My  name  is  Religion.  I  am  the  offspring  of 
Truth  and  Love,  and  the  parent  of  Benevolence, 
Hope,  and  Joy.  That  monster,  from  whose  power 
I  have  freed  you,  is  called  Superstition,  she  is  the 
child  of  Discontent,  and  her  followers  are  Fear  and 
Sorrow.  Thus  different  as  we  are,  she  has  often 
the  insolence  to  assume  my  name  and  character,  and 
seduces  unhappy  mortals  to  think  us  the  same,  till 
she,  at  length,  drives  them  to  the  borders  of  Despair, 
that  dreadful  abyss  into  which  you  were  just  going 
to  sink. 

'  Look  round  and  survey  the  various  beauties  of 
the  globe,  which  Heaven  has  destined  for  the  seat 
of  the  human  race,  and  consider  whether  a  world 
thus  exquisitely  framed  could  be  meant  for  the 
abode  of  misery  and  pain.  For  what  end  has  the 
lavish  hand  of  Providence  diffused  such  innumer- 
able objects  of  delight,  but  that  all  might  rejoice  in 
the  privilege  of  existence,  and  be  filled  with  grati- 
tude to  the  beneficent  Author  of  it  ?  Thus  to  enjoy 
the  blessings  He  has  sent,  is  virtue  and  obedience ; 
and  to  reject  them  merely  as  means  of  pleasure,  is 
pitiable  ignorance,  or  absurd  perverseness.     Infinite 

NO.    44.  RAMBLER.  321 

goodness  is  the  source  of  created  existence  ;  the 
proper  tendency  of  everj  rational  being,  from  the 
highest  order  of  raptured  seraphs,  to  the  meanest 
rank  of  men,  is  to  rise  incessantly  from  lower  de- 
grees of  happiness  to  higher.  They  have  each  fac- 
ulties assigned  them  for  various  orders  of  delights.' 

'  What,'  cried  I, '  is  this  the  language  of  Rehgion  ? 
Does  she  lead  her  votaries  through  flowery  paths, 
and  bid  them  pass  an  unlaborious  life  ?  Where  are 
the  painful  toils  of  virtue,  the  mortifications  of  pen- 
itents, the  self-denying  exercises  of  saints  and  he- 
roes ?  ' 

'  The  true  enjoyments  of  a  reasonable  being,'  an- 
swered she,  mildly,  '  do  not  consist  in  unbounded  in- 
dulgence, or  luxurious  ease,  in  the  tumult  of  pas- 
sions, the  languor  of  indolence,  or  the  flutter  of  light 
amusements.  Yielding  to  unmoral  pleasure  cor- 
rupts the  mind,  living  to  animal  and  trifling  ones 
debases  it ;  both  in  their  degree  disqualify  it  for  its 
genuine  good,  and  consign  it  over  to  wretchedness. 
Whoever  would  be  really  happy  must  make  the 
dihgent  and  regular  exercise  of  his  superior  powers 
his  chief  attention,  adoring  the  perfections  of  his 
Maker,  expressing  good-will  to  his  fellow-creatures, 
cultivating  inward  rectitude.  To  his  lower  faculties 
he  must  allow  such  gratifications  as  will,  by  refresh- 
ing him,  invigorate  his  nobler  pursuits.  In  the  re- 
gions inhabited  by  angelic  natures,  unmiugied  felic- 
ity forever  blooms,  joy  flows  there  with  a  jjerpetual 
and  abundant  stream,  nor  needs  there  any  mound  to 
check  its  course.  Beings  conscious  of  a  frame  of 
mind  originally  diseased,  as  all  the  human  race  has 
cause  to  be,  must  use  the  regimen  of  a  stricter  self- 
government.  Whoever  has  been  guilty  of  voluntary 
excesses,  must  patiently  submit  both  to  the  painful 
workings  of  nature  and  needful  severities  of  medi- 

VOL.   XVI.  21 


322  RAMBLER.  NO.    44. 

cine,  in  order  to  his  cure.  Still,  he  is  entitled  to  a 
moderate  share  of  whatever  alleviating  accommoda- 
tions this  fair  mansion  of  his  merciful  Parent  af- 
fords, consistent  with  his  recovery.  And  in  propor- 
tion as  this  recovery  advances,  the  liveliest  joy  Avill 
spring  from  his  secret  sense  of  an  amended  and  im- 
proving heart. — So  far  from  the  horrors  of  despair 
is  the  condition  even  of  the  guilty. — Shudder,  poor 
mortal,  at  the  thought  of  the  gulf  into  which  thou 
wast  but  now  going  to  i^lunge. 

'  While  the  most  faulty  have  every  encourage- 
ment to  amend,  the  more  innocent  soul  will  be  sup- 
ported with  still  sweeter  consolations  under  all  its 
experience  of  human  infirmities  ;  supported  by  the 
gladdening  assurances  that  every  sincere  endeavour 
to  outgrow  them,  shall  be  assisted,  accepted,  and  re- 
warded. To  such  a  one  the  lowliest  self-abasement 
is  but  a  deep-laid  foundation  for  the  most  elevated 
hopes  ;  since  they  who  faithfully  examine  and  ac- 
knowledge Avhat  they  are,  shall  be  enabled  under 
my  conduct  to  become  what  they  desire.  The  Chris- 
tian and  the  hero  are  inseparable ;  and  to  the  aspir- 
ings of  unassuming  trust,  and  filial  confidence,  are 
set  no  bounds.  To  him  who  is  animated  with  a 
\dew  of  obtaining  approbation  from  the  Sovereign 
of  the  universe,  no  difficulty  is  insurmountable. 
Secure  in  this  pursuit  of  every  needful  aid,  his  con- 
flict with  the  severest  pains  and  trials,  is  little  more 
than  the  vigorous  exercises  of  a  mind  in  health. 
His  patient  dependence  on  that  Providence  which 
looks  through  all  eternity,  his  silent  resignation,  his 
ready  accommodation  of  his  thoughts  and  behaviour 
to  its  inscrutable  ways,  is  at  once  the  most  excellent 
sort  of  self-denial,  and  a  source  of  the  most  exalted 
transports.  Society  is  the  true  sphere  of  human 
virtue.    In  social,  active  life,  difiiculties  will  perpet- 

NO.   44.  RAMBLER.  .  323 

ually  be  met  with ;  restraints  of  many  kinds  will 
be  necessary ;  and  studying  to  behave  right  in  re- 
spect of  these,  is  a  discipline  of  the  human  heart, 
useful  to  others,  and  improving  to  itself.  Suffering 
is  no  duty,  but  where  it  is  necessary  to  avoid  guilt, 
or  to  do  good  ;  nor  pleasure  a  crime,  but  where  it 
strengthens  the  influence  of  bad  incHuations,  or  les- 
sens the  generous  activity  of  vii'tue.  The  happiness 
allotted  to  man  in  his  present  state,  is  indeed  faint 
and  low,  compared  with  his  immortal  prospects,  and 
noble  capacities  ;  but  yet,  whatever  portion  of  it  the 
distributing  hand  of  Heaven  offers  to  each  individ- 
ual, is  a  needful  support  and  refreshment  for  the 
present  moment,  so  far  as  it  may  not  hmder  the  at- 
taining of  his  final  destination, 

'  Return,  then,  with  me  from  continual  misery  to 
moderate  enjoyment,  and  grateful  alacrity.  Return 
from  the  contracted  views  of  solitude  to  the  proper 
duties  of  a  relative  and  dependent  being.  Religion 
is  not  confined  to  cells  and  closets,  nor  restrained  to 
sullen  retirement.  These  are  the  gloomy  doctrines 
of  Superstition,  by  which  she  endeavours  to  break 
those  chains  of  benevolence  and  social  affection,  that 
link  the  welfare  of  every  particular  with  that  of  the 
whole.  Remember  that  the  greatest  honour  you 
can  pay  to  the  Author  of  your  being  is  by  such  a 
cheerful  behaviour,  as  discovers  a  mind  satisfied  with 
his  dispensations.' 

"  Here  my  preceptress  paused,  and  I  was  going 
to  express  my  acknowledgment  for  her  discourse, 
when  a  ring;  of  beUs  from  the  neio-hbourino-  village, 
and  a  new-risen  sun  darting  his  beams  through  my 
windows,  awaked  me. 

"  I  am,  yours,"  &c. 

324  RAMBLER.  NO.    45. 

No.  45.     TUESDAY,  AUGUST  21,  1750. 

liTrep  ixsyiarrj  yiyveTat  auTr/pla 

"Orav  yvvT]  -npog  uvdpa  fif]  diXoaraTy, 

'^vv  6'  cK^pa  TTcivTa. —  EURIP. 

This  is  the  chief  fehcity  of  life, 

That  concord  smile  on  the  connubial  bed ; 

But  now  't  is  hatred  all. — 

"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 

"  SIR, 

"  Though,  in  tlie  dissertations  which  you  have 
given  us  on  marriage,  very  just  cautions  are  laid 
down  against  the  common  causes  of  infelicity,  and 
the  necessity  of  having,  in  that  important  choice, 
the  first  regard  to  virtue,  is  carefully  inculcated ; 
yet  I  cannot  think  the  subject  so  much  exhausted, 
but  that  a  Httle  reflection  would  present  to  the  mind 
many  questions,  in  the  discussion  of  which  great 
numbers  are  interested,  and  many  precepts  which 
deserve  to  be  more  particularly  and  forcibly  im- 

"  You  seem,  like  most  of  the  writers  that  have 
gone  before  you,  to  have  allowed,  as  an  uncontested 
principle,  that  '  Marriage  is  generally  unhappy : ' 
but  I  know  not  whether  a  man  who  professes  to 
think  for  himself  and  concludes  from  his  own  ob- 
servations, does  not  depart  from  his  character  when 
he  follows  the  crowd  thus  implicitly,  and  receives 
maxims  without  recalling  them  to  a  new  examina- 
tion,  especially  when  they  comprise  so  wide  a  cir- 

NO.    45.  RAMBLER.  325 

cuit  of  life,  and  include  such  variety  of  circum- 
stances. As  I  have  an  equal  right  with  others  to 
give  my  opinion  of  the  objects  about  me,  and  a  bet- 
ter title  to  determine  concerning  that  state  which  I 
have  tried,  than  many  who  talk  of  it  without  ex- 
perience, I  am  unwilling  to  be  restrained  by  mere 
authority  from  advancing  what,  I  believe,  an  ac- 
curate view  of  the  world  will  confirm,  that  marriage 
is  not  commonly  unhappy,  otherwise  than  as  life  is 
unhappy ;  and  that  most  of  those  who  complain  of 
connubial  miseries,  have  as  much  satisfaction  as 
their  nature  would  have  admitted,  or  their  conduct 
procured,  in  any  other  condition. 

"  It  is,  indeed,  common  to  hear  both  sexes  repine 
at  their  change,  relate  the  happiness  of  their  earher 
years,  blame  the  folly  and  rashness  of  then*  own 
choice,  and  warn  those  whom  they  see  coming  mto 
the  world  against  the  same  j)recipitance  and  in- 
fatuation. But  it  is  to  be  remembered,  that  the 
days  which  they  so  much  wish  to  call  back,  are  the 
days  not  only  of  cehbacy  but  of  youth,  the  days  of 
novelty  and  improvement,  of  ardour  and  of  hope, 
of  health  and  vigour  of  body,  of  gayety  and  light- 
ness of  heart.  It  is  not  easy  to  surround  life  with 
any  circumstances  in  which  youth  will  not  be  de- 
lightful ;  and  I  am  afraid  that,  whether  married  or 
unmarried,  we  shall  find  the  vesture  of  terrestrial 
existence  more  heavy  and  cumbrous  the  longer  it  is 

"•  That  they  censure  themselves  for  the  indiscre- 
tion of  their  choice,  is  not  a  sufficient  proof  that 
they  have  chosen  ill,  since  we  see  the  same  discon- 
tent at  every  other  part  of  life  which  we  cannot 
change.  Converse  with  almost  any  man,  grown  old 
in  a  profession,  and  you  will  find  him  regretting  that 
he  did  not  enter  mto  some  different  course,  to  which 

326  RAMBLER.  NO.    46. 

he  too  late  finds  his  genius  better  adapted,  or  in 
which  he  discovers  that  weaUh  and  honour  are  more 
easily  attained.  '  The  merchant,'  says  Horace,  '  en- 
vies the  soldier,  and  the  soldier  recounts  the  felicity 
of  the  merchant ;  the  lawyer,  when  his  clients  harass 
him,  calls  out  for  the  quiet  of  the  countryman  ;  and 
the  countryman,  when  business,  palls  him  to  town, 
proclaims  that  there  is  no  happiness  but  amidst 
opulence  and  crowds.'  Every  man  recounts  the  in- 
conveniences of  his  own  station,  and  thinks  those  of 
any  other  less,  because  he  has  not  felt  them.  Thus 
the  married  praise  the  ease  and  freedom  of  a  single 
state,  and  the  single  fly  to  marriage  from  the  weari- 
ness of  solitude.  From  all  our  observations,  we  may 
collect  with  certainty,  that  misery  is  the  lot  of  man, 
but  cannot  discover  in  what  particular  condition  it 
will  find  most  alleviations  ;  or  whether  all  external 
appendages  are  not,  as  we  use  them,  the  causes  either 
of  good  or  ill. 

"  Whoever  feels  great  pain,  naturally  hopes  for 
ease  from  change  of  posture ;  he  changes  it  and 
finds  himself  equally  tormented :  and  of  the  same 
kind  are  the  expedients  by  which  we  endeavour  to 
obviate  or  elude  those  uneasinesses,  to  which  mortal- 
ity will  always  be  subject.  It  is  not  likely  that  the 
married  state  is  eminently  miserable,  since  we  see 
such  numbers,  whom  the  death  of  their  partners  has 
set  free  from  it,  entering  it  again. 

"  Wives  and  husbands  are,  indeed,  incessantly 
complaining  of  each  other  ;  and  there  would  be  rea- 
son for  imagining  that  almost  every  house  was  in- 
fested with  perverseness  or  oppression  beyond  hu- 
man sufferance,  did  we  not  know  upon  how  small 
occasions  some  minds  burst  out  into  lamentations 
and  reproaches,  and  how  naturally  every  animal 
revenges  his  pain  upon  those  who  happen  to  be  near, 

NO.    45.  RAMBLER.  327 

without  any  nice  examination  of  its  cause.  We  are 
always  willing  to  fancy  ourselves  within  a  little  of 
happiness,  and  when,  wdth  repeated  efforts,  we  can- 
not reach  it,  persuade  ourselves  that  it  is  inter- 
cepted by  an  ill-paired  mate,  since,  if  we  could  find 
any  other  obstacle,  it  would  be  our  own  fault  that 
it  was  not  removed. 

"  Anatomists  have  often  remarked,  that  though 
our  diseases  are  sufficiently  numerous  and  severe, 
yet,  when  we  inquire  into  the  structure  of  the  body, 
the  tenderness  of  some  parts,  the  minuteness  of 
others,  and  the  immense  multiplicity  of  animal  func- 
tions that  must  concur  to  the  healthful  and  vigorous 
exercise  of  all  our  powers,  there  appears  reason  to 
wonder  rather  that  we  are  preserved  so  long,  than 
that  we  perish  so  soon ;  and  that  our  frame  subsists 
for  a  single  day,  or  hour,  without  disorder,  rather 
than  that  it  should  be  broken  or  obstructed  by  vio- 
lence of  accidents,  or  length  of  time. 

"  The  same  reflection  arises  in  my  mind,  upon  ob- 
servation of  the  manner  in  which  marriage  is  fre- 
quently contracted.  AVhen  I  see  the  avaricious  and 
crafty  taking  companions  to  their  tables,  and  their 
beds,  without  any  inquiry,  but  after  farms  and  money ; 
or  the  giddy  and  thoughtless  uniting  themselves  for 
hfe  to  those  whom  they  have  only  seen  by  the  light 
of  tapters  at  a  ball ;  when  parents  make  articles  for 
their  children,  without  inquiring  after  their  consent ; 
when  some  marry  for  heirs  to  disappoint  then-  broth- 
ers, and  others  throw  themselves  into  the  arms  of 
those  whom  they  do  not  love,  because  they  found 
themselves  rejected  where  they  were  more  solicitous 
to  please ;  when  some  marry  because  their  servants 
cheat  them,  some  because  they  squander  their  own 
money,  some  because  their  houses  are  pestered  with 
company,  some  because  they  will  Uve  like  other 

328  RAMBLER.  NO.   45. 

people,  and  some  only  because  they  are  sick  of  them- 
selves ;  I  am  not  so  much  inclined  to  wonder  that 
marriage  is  sometimes  unhappy,  as  that  it  appears 
so  little  loaded  with  calamity  ;  and  cannot  but  con- 
clude that  society  has  something  in  itself  eminently 
agreeable  to  human  nature,  when  I  find  its  pleasures 
so  great,  that  even  the  ill  choice  of  a  companion  can 
hardly  overbalance  them. 

"  By  the  ancient  custom  of  the  Muscovites,  the 
men  and  women  never  saw  each  other  till  they  were 
joined  beyond  the  power  of  parting.  It  may  be 
suspected  that  by  this  method  many  unsuitable 
matches  were  produced,  and  many  tempers  associated 
that  were  not  qualified  to  give  pleasure  to  each 
other.  Yet,  perhaps,  among  a  people  so  little  deli- 
cate, where  the  paucity  of  gratifications,  and  the 
uniformity  of  life,  gave  no  opportunity  for  imagina- 
tion to  interpose  its  objections,  there  was  not  much 
danger  of  capricious  dislike,  and  while  they  felt 
neither  cold  nor  hunger,  they  might  live  quietly 
together,  without  any  thought  of  the  defects  of  one 

"  Amongst  us,  whom  knowledge  has  made  nice, 
and  affluence  wanton,  there  are,  indeed,  more  cau- 
tions requisite  to  secure  tranquillity ;  and  yet,  if  we 
observe  the  manner  in  which  those  converse,  who 
have  singled  out  each  other  for  marriage,  w'e  shall, 
perhaps,  not  think  that  the  Russians  lost  much  by 
their  restraint.  For  the  whole  endeavour  of  both 
parties,  during  the  time  of  courtshijD,  is  to  hinder 
themselves  from  being  known,  and  to  disguise  their 
natural  temper,  and  real  desires,  in  hypocritical 
imitation,  studied  compliance,  and  continued  affecta- 
tion. From  the  time  that  their  love  is  avowed, 
neither  sees  the  other  but  in  a  mask,  and  the  cheat 
is  managed  often  on  both  sides  with  so  much  art,  and 

NO.    46.  RAMBLER.  329 

discovered  afterwards  with  so  mucli  abruptness,  that 
each  has  reason  to  suspect  that  some  transformation 
has  happened  on  the  wedding-night,  and  that,  bj  a 
strange  imposture,  one  has  been  courted  and  another 

"  I  desire  you,  therefore,  Mr.  Rambler,  to  question 
all  who  shall  hereafter  come  to  you  with  matrimo- 
nial complaints,  concerning  their  behaviour  in  the 
time  of  courtship,  and  mform  them  that  they  are 
neither  to  wonder  nor  repine,  when  a  contract  be- 
gun with  fraud  has  ended  in  disappointment. 

"  I  am,"  (fee. 

No.  46.     SATUEDAY,  AUGUST  25,  1750. 

— Genus,  etproavos,  et  quae  non  fecinms  ipsi, 
Vix  ea  nostra  voco. —  oyid.  met.  xiii.  140. 

Nought  from  my  birth  or  ancestors  I  claim; 
All  is  my  own,  my  honour  and  my  shame. 



"  SIE, 

"  Since  I  find  that  you  have  paid  so  much  regard 
to  my  complaints  as  to  publish  them,  I  am  inclined 
by  vanity,  or  gratitude,  to  continue  our  correspond- 
ence ;  and  indeed,  without  either  of  these  motives, 
am  glad  of  an  opportunity  to  write,  for  I  am  not 
accustomed  to  keep  in  any  thmg  that  swells  my 

330  RAMBLER.  NO.    46. 

heart,  and  have  here  none  with  whom  I  can  freely 
converse.  While  I  am  thus  employed,  some  tedious 
hours  will  slip  away,  and  when  I  return  to  watch  the 
clock,  I  shall  find  that  I  have  disburdened  myself 
of  part  of  the  day. 

"  You  perceive  that  I  do  not  pretend  to  write  with 
much  consideration  of  any  thing  but  my  own  con- 
venience ;  and,  not  to  conceal  from  you  my  real 
sentiments,  the  Httle  time  which  I  have  spent, 
against  my  will,  in  solitary  meditation,  has  not  much 
contributed  to  my  veneration  for  authors.  I  have 
now  sufficient  reason  to  suspect  that,  with  all  your 
splendid  professions  of  wisdom,  and  seeming  regard 
for  truth,  you  have  very  little  sincerity ;  that  you 
either  write  what  you  do  not  think,  and  willingly 
impose  upon  mankind,  or  that  you  take  no  care  to 
think  right,  but  while  you  set  up  yourselves  as 
guides,  mislead  your  followers  by  credulity  or  negli- 
gence ;  that  you  produce  to  the  public  whatever 
notions  you  can  speciously  maintain,  or  elegantly 
express,  without  inquiring  whether  they  are  just; 
and  transcribe  hereditary  falsehoods  from  old  au- 
thors perhaps  as  ignorant  and  careless  as  your- 

"  You  may  perhaps  wonder  that  I  express  myself 
with  so  much  acrimony  on  a  question  in  which 
women  are  supposed  to  have  vary  Httle  interest ; 
and  you  are  likely  enough,  for  I  have  seen  many 
instances  of  the  sauciness  of  scholars,  to  tell  me,  that 
I  am  more  properly  employed  in  playing  with  my 
kittens,  than  in  giving  myself  airs  of  criticism,  and 
censuring  the  learned.  But  you  are  mistaken,  if 
you  imagine  that  I  am  to  be  intimidated  by  your 
contempt,  or  silenced  by  your  reproofs.  As  I  read, 
I  have  a  right  to  judge  ;  as  I  am  injured,  I  have  a 
right  to  complain  ;  and  these  privileges^  which  I  have 

NO.    46.  KAMBLER.  331 

purchased  at  so  dear  a  rate,  I  shall  not  easily  be 
persuaded  to  resign. 

"  To  read  has,  indeed,  never  been  my  business ; 
but  as  there  are  hours  of  leisure  in  the  most  active 
hfe,  I  have  passed  the  superfluities  of  time,  which 
the  diversions  of  the  town  left  upon  my  hands,  in 
turning  over  a  large  collection  of  tragedies  and 
romances,  where,  amongst  other  sentiments,  com- 
mon to  all  authors  of  this  class,  I  have  found  almost 
every  page  filled  with  the  charms*  and  happiness  of 
a  country  life ;  that  life  to  which  every  statesmen  in 
the  highest  elevation  of  his  prosperity  is  contriving 
to  retire ;  that  life  to  which  every  tragic  heroine,  in 
some  scene  or  other,  wishes  to  have  been  born,  and 
which  is  rejDresented  as  a  certain  refuge  from  foUy, 
from  anxiety,  from  passion,  and  from  guilt. 

"  It  was  impossible  to  read  so  many  passionate 
exclamations,  and  soothing  descriptions,  without  feel- 
ing some  desire  to  enjoy  the  state  in  which  all  this 
felicity  was  to  be  enjoyed ;  and,  therefore,  I  received 
with  raptures  the  invitation  of  my  good  aunt,  and 
expected  that,  by  some  unknown  influence,  I  should 
find  all  hopes  and  fears,  jealousies  and  competitions, 
vanish  from  my  heart  upon  my  first  arrival  at  the 
seats  of  innocence  and  tranquillity;  that  I  should 
sleep  in  halcyon  bowers,  and  wander  in  elysian 
gardens,  where  I  should  meet  with  nothing  but  the 
softness  of  benevolence,  the  candour  of  simplicity, 
and  the  cheerfulness  of  content ;  where  I  should  see 
reason  exerting  her  sovereignty  over  life,  without 
any  interruption  from  envy,  avarice,  or  ambition, 
and  every  day  passing  in  such  a  manner  as  the 
severest  wisdom  should  approve. 

''  This,  Mr.  Rambler,  I  tell  you  I  expected,  and 
this  I  had  by  a  hundred  authors  been  taught  to  ex- 

332  RAMBLER.  NO.   46. 

pect.  Bj  tliis  expectation  I  was  led  hither,  and 
here  I  live  in  perpetual  uneasiness,  without  any 
other  comfort  than  that  of  hoping  to  return  to 

Having,  since  I  wrote  my  former  letter,  been 
driven,  by  the  mere  necessity  of  escaj^ing  from  abso- 
lute inactivity,  to  make  myself  more  acquainted  with 
the  affairs  and  inhabitants  of  this  place,  I  am  now 
no  longer  an  absolute  stranger  to  rural  conversation 
and  employments,'  but  am  far  from  discovering  in 
them  more  innocence  or  wisdom,  than  in  the  senti- 
ments or  conduct  of  those  with  whom  I  have  passed 
more  cheerful  and  more  fashionable  hours. 

"  It  is  common  to  reproach  the  tea-table,  and  the 
park,  with  giving  opportunities  and  encouragement 
to  scandal.  I  cannot  wholly  clear  them  from  the 
charge  ;  but  must,  however,  observe,  in  favour  of  the 
modish  prattlers,  that,  if  not  by  principle,  we  are  at 
least  by  accident,  less  guilty  of  defamation  than  the 
country  ladies.  For  having  greater  numbers  to 
observe  and  censure,  we  are  commonly  content  to 
charge  them  only  with  their  own  faults  or  follies, 
and  seldom  give  way  to  malevolence,  but  such  as 
arises  from  some  injury  or  affront,  real  or  imaginary, 
offered  to  ourselves.  But  in  these  distant  provinces, 
where  the  same  families  inhabit  the  same  houses 
from  age  to  age,  they  transmit  and  recount  the  faults 
of  a  whole  succession.  I  have  been  informed  how 
every  estate  in  the  neighbourhood  was  originally 
got :  and  find,  if  I  may  crefdit  the  accounts  given  me, 
that  there  is  not  a  single  acre  in  the  hands  of  the 
right  owner.  I  have  been  told  of  intrigues  between, 
beaux,  and  toasts  that  have  been  now  three  centuries 
in  their  quiet  graves,  and  am  often  entertained  with 
traditional  scandal  on  persons  of  whose  names  there 

NO.    46.  EAMBLEE.  333 

would  have  been  no  remembrance,  had  they  not 
committed  somewhat  that  mio;ht  disgrace  their  de- 

"  In  one  of  my  visits,  I  happened  to  commend  the 
air  and  dignity  of  a  yonug  hidy,  who  had  just  left 
the  company ;  upon  which  two  grave  matrons  looked 
with  great  slyness  at  each  other,  and  the  elder  asked 
me  whether  I  had  ever  seen  the  picture  of  Henry 
the  Eighth.  You  may  imagme  that  I  did  not  imme- 
diately perceive  the  propriety  of  the  question ;  but 
after  havino-  waited  a  while  for  information,  I  was 
told  that  the  lady's  grandmother  had  a  great-great- 
grandmother  that  was  an  attendant  on  Anna  Bullen, 
and  supposed  to  have  been  too  much  a  favourite  of 
the  king. 

"  If  once  there  happens  a  quarrel  between  the 
principal  persons  of  two  famihes,  the  malignity  is 
continued  without  end,  and  it  is  common  for  old 
maids  to  fell  out  about  some  election,  in  which  their 
grandfathers  were  competitors ;  the  heart-burnings 
of  the  civil  war  are  not  yet  extinguished  ;  there  are 
two  families  in  the  neighbourhood  who  have  de- 
stroyed each  other's  game  from  the  time  of  Philip 
and  Mary ;  and  when  an  account  came  of  an  inunda- 
tion, which  had  injured  the  plantations  of  a  worthy 
gentleman,  one  of  the  hearers  remarked,  with  exulta- 
tion, that  he  might  now  have  some  notion  of  the 
ravages  committed  by  his  ancestors  in  their  retreat 
from  Bosworth. 

"  Thus  malice  and  hatred  descend  here  with  an 
inheritance,  and  it  is  necessaiy  to  be  well-versed  in 
history,  that  the  various  factions  of  this  county  may 
be  understood.  You  cannot  expect  to  be  on  good 
terms  with  families  who  are  resolved  to  love  nothing 
in  common ;  and,  in  selecting  your  intimates,  you 

334  RAMBLER.  NO.    46. 

are,  perhaps,  to  consider  which  party  jou  must  favour 
in  the  barons'  wars.  I  have  often  lost  the  good 
opinion  of  mj  aunt's  visitants,  by  confounding  the 
interests  of  York  and  Lancaster,  and  was  once  cen- 
sured for  sitting  silent  when  William  Rufus  was 
called  a  tyrant.  I  have,  however,  now  thrown  aside 
all  pretences  to  circumspection,  for  I  find  it  impos- 
sible in  less  than  seven  years  to  learn  all  the  requisite 
cautions.  At  London,  if  you  know  your  company, 
and  their  parents,  you  are  safe ;  but  you  are  here 
suspected  of  alluding  to  the  slips  of  great-grand- 
mothers, and  of  reviving  contests  which  were  decided 
in  armour  by  the  redoubted  knights  of  ancient  times. 
I  hope,  therefore,  that  you  will  not  condemn  my 
impatience,  if  I  am  weary  of  attending  where  noth- 
ing can  be  learned,  and  of  quarrelling,  where  there 
is  nothing  to  contest,  and  that  you  will  contribute 
to  divert  me  while  I  stay  here  by  some  facetious 

"  I  am,  Sir, 

'    "EUPHELIA." 

NO.    47.  RAMBLER.  335 

No.  47.    TUESDAY,   AUGUST  28,  1750. 

Quanquam  Ins  sokdiis  acquiescam,  debiUtor  et  frangor  eadem  ilia 
humaniiate  quae  me,  ut  hoc  ipsum  permitte7'e7n,  induxit.  Non 
ideo  tamen  velim  durior  fieri :  nee  ignoro  alios  hujusmodi  casus 
nihil  ampUiis  vocare  quam  damnum  ;  eoque  sibi  magnos  homines 
et  sapientes  videri.  Qui  an  vnagni  sapieniesoue  sint,  nescio  ; 
homines  non  sunt.  Hominis  est  enim  ajfici  dotore,  sentire;  re- 
sistere  tamen,  et  solatia  admittere;  non  solaiiis  non  egere. 


These  proceedings  have  afforded  me  some  comfort  in  my  dis- 
tress; notwithstanding  which,  I  am  still  dispimted,  and  un- 
hinged by  the  same  motives  of  hiimanity  tliat  induced  me  to 
grant  such  indulgences.  Howevei',  I  by  no  means  wish  to  be 
come  less  susceptible  of  tenderness.  I  know  these  kind  of 
misfortunes  would  be  estimated  by  other  persons  only  as  com- 
mon losses,  and  from  such  sensations  they  would  conceive 
themselves  great  and  wise  men.  I  shall  not  determine  either 
their  greatness  or  their  wisdom;  but  I  am  certain  they  have 
no  humanity.  It  is  the  part  of  a  man  to  be  affected  with 
grief;  to  feel  sorrow,  at  the  same  time  that  he  is  to  resist  it, 
and  to  admit  of  comfort.  earl  of  orrery. 

Of  the  passions  with  which  the  mind  of  man  is 
agitated,  it  may  be  observed  that  they  naturally 
hasten  towards  their  own  extinction,  by  inciting  and 
quickening  the  attainment  of  their  objects.  Thus 
fear  urges  our  flight,  and  desire  animates  our  pro- 
gress ;  and  if  there  are  some  which,  perhaps,  may 
be  indulged  till  they  outgrow  the  good  appropriated 
to  their  satisfaction,  as  it  is  frequently  observed  of 
avarice  and  ambition,  yet  their  immediate  tendency 
is  to  some  means  of  happiness  really  existing,  and 
generally  within  the  prospect.  The  miser  always 
imagines   that  there  is  a  certain  sum  that  will  fill 

336  RAMBLER.  NO.   47. 

his  heart  to  the  brim ;  and  every  ambitious  man, 
like  king  Pyrrhus,  has  an  acquisition  in  his  thoughts 
that  is  to  terminate  his  labours,  after  which  he  shall 
pass  the  rest  of  his  life  in  ease  or  gayety,  in  repose 
or  devotion. 

Sorrow  is,  perhaps,  the  only  affection  of  the  breast 
that  can  be  excepted  from  this  general  remark,  and 
it  therefore  deserves  the  particular  attention  of  those 
who  have  assumed  the  arduous  province  of  preserv- 
ing the  balance  of  the  mental  constitution.  The 
other  passions  are  diseases,  indeed,  but  they  neces- 
sarily direct  us  to  their  proper  cure.  A  man  at 
once  feels  the  pain,  and  knows  the  medicine,  to 
wdiich  he  is  carried  with  greater  haste  as  the  evil 
which  requires  it  is  more  excruciating,  and  cures 
himself  by  unerring  instinct,  as  the  wounded  stags 
of  Crete  are  related  by  ^lian  to  have  recourse  to 
vulnerary  herbs.  But  for  sorrow  there  is  no  remedy 
provided  by  nature  ;  it  is  often  occasioned  by  acci- 
dents irreparable,  and  dwells  upon  objects  that  have 
lost  or  changed  their  existence  ;  it  requires  what  it 
cannot  hope,  that  the  laws  of  the  universe  should 
be  repealed ;  that  the  dead  should  return,  or  the 
past  should  be  recalled. 

Sorrow  is  not  that  regret  for  negligence  or  error 
which  may  animate  us  to  future  care  or  activity,  or 
that  repentance  of  crimes  for  which,  however  irrevo- 
cable, our  Creator,  has  promised  to  accept  it  as  an 
atonement;  the  pain  which  arises  from  these  causes 
has  very  salutary  effects,  and  is  every  hour  extenuat- 
ing itself  by  the  reparation  of  those  miscarriages 
that  produce  it.  Sorrow  is  properly  that  state  of 
the  mind  in  which  our  desires  are  fixed  upon  the 
past,  without  looking  forward  to  the  future  ;  an  inces- 
sant wish  that  something  were  otherwise  than  it  has 
been ;  a  tormenting  and  harassing  want  of  some  en- 

NO.    47.  RAMBLER.  337 

joyment  or  possession  which  we  have  lost,  and  which 
no  endeavours  can  possibly  regain.  Into  such  anguish 
many  have  sunk  upon  some  sudden  diminution  of 
their  fortune,  an  unexpected  blast  of  their  reputa- 
tion, or  the  loss  of  children,  or  of  friends.  They 
have  suffered  all  sensibility  of  pleasure  to  be  de- 
stroyed by  a  single  blow,  have  given  up  forever  the 
hopes  of  substituting  any  other  object  in  the  room 
of  that  which  they  lament,  resigned  their  lives  to 
gloom  and  despondency,  and  worn  themselves  out 
in  unavailing  misery. 

Yet  so  much  is  this  passion  the  natural  conse- 
quence of  tenderness  and  endearment,  that,  however 
painful  and  however  useless,  it  is  justly  reproachful 
not  to  feel  it  on  some  occasions  ;  and  so  widely  and 
constantly  has  it  always  prevailed,  that  the  laws  of 
some  nations,  and  the  customs  of  others,  have  limited 
a  time  for  the  external  appearances  of  grief  caused 
by  the  dissolution  of  close  alliances,  and  the  breach 
of  domestic  union. 

It  seems  determined,  by  the  general  suffrage  of 
mankind,  that  sorrow  is  to  a  certain  point  laudable, 
as  the  offspring  of  love,  or  at  least  pardonable  as 
the  effect  of  weakness  ;  but  that  it  ought  not  to  be 
suffered  to  increase  by  indulgence,  but  must  give 
way,  after  a  stated  time,  to  social  duties,  and  the 
common  avocations  of  life.  It  is  at  first  unavoid- 
able, and  therefore  must  be  allowed,  whether  with 
or  without  our  choice  ;  it  may  afterwards  be  ad- 
mitted as  a  decent  and  affectionate  testimony  of 
-kindness  and  esteem ;  something  will  be  extorted 
by  nature,  and  something  may  be  given  to  the  world. 
But  all  beyond  the  bursts  of  passion,  or  the  forms 
of  solemnity,  is  not  only  useless,  but  culpable  ;  for 
we  have  no  right  to  sacrifice,  to  the  vain  longings 

VOL.  XVI.  22 

338  RAMBLER.  NO.   47. 

of  affection,  that  time  which  Providence  allows  us 
for  the  task  of  our  station. 

Yet  it  too  often  happens  that  sorrow,  thus  law- 
fully entering,  gains  such  a  firm  possession  of  the 
mind,  that  it  is  not  afterwards  to  be  ejected  ;  the 
mournful  ideas,  first  violently  impressed,  and  after- 
wards willingly  received,  so  much  engross  the  atten- 
tion, as  to  predominate  in  every  thought,  to  darken 
gayety,  and  perplex  ratiocination.  An  habitual 
sadness  seizes  upon  the  soul,  and  the  faculties  are 
chained  to  a  single  object,  which  can  never  be  con- 
templated but  with  hopeless  uneasiness. 

From  this  state  of  dejection  it  is  very  difiicult  to 
rise  to  cheerfulness  and  alacrity ;  and,  therefore, 
many  who  have  laid  down  rules  of  intellectual  health, 
think  preservatives  easier  tlian  remedies,  and  teach 
us  not  to  trust  ourselves  with  favourite  enjoyments, 
not  to  indulge  the  luxury  of  fondness,  but  to  keep 
our  minds  always  suspended  in  such  indifference, 
that  we  may  change  the  objects  about  us  without 

An  exact  compliance  with  this  rule  might,  per- 
haps, contribute  to  tranquillity,  but  surely  it  would 
never  produce  haj)piness.  He  that  regards  none 
so  much  as  to  be  afraid  of  losing  them,  must  live  for- 
ever without  the  gentle  pleasures  of  sympathy  and 
confidence ;  he  must  feel  no  melting  fondness,  no 
warmth  of  benevolence,  nor  any  of  those  honest 
joys  which  nature  annexes  to  the  power  of  pleasing. 
And  as  no  man  can  justly  claim  more  tenderness 
than  he  pays,  he  must  forfeit  his  share  in  that  offi- 
cious and  watchful  kindness  which  love  only  can 
dictate,  and  those  lenient  endearments  by  which  love 
only  can  soften  life.  He  may  justly  be  overlooked 
and  neglected  by  such  as  have  more  warmth  in  their 
heart ;   for  who  would  be  the  friend  of  him,  whom, 

NO.    47.  EAMBLER.  339 

with  whatever  assiduity  he  may  be  courted,  and 
with  whatever  services  obliged,  his  principles  will 
not  suffer  to  make  equal  returns,  and  who,  when 
you  have  exhausted  all  the  instances  of  good-will, 
can  only  be  prevailed  on  not  to  be  an  enemy  ? 

An  attempt  to  preserve  life  in  a  state  of  neutrality 
and  indifiference,  is  unreasonable  and  vain.  If  by 
excluding  joy  we  could  shut  out  grief,  the  scheme 
would  deserve  very  serious  attention  ;  but  since,  how- 
ever we  may  debar  ourselves  from  happiness,  misery 
will  find  its  way  at  many  inlets,  and  the  assaults  of 
pain  will  force  our  regard,  though  we  may  withhold 
it  from  the  invitations  of  pleasure,  we  may  surely 
endeavour  to  raise  life  above  the  middle  point  of 
apathy  at  one  time,  since  it  will  necessarily  sink 
below  it  at  another. 

But  though  it  cannot  be  reasonable  not  to  gain 
happiness  for  fear  of  losing  it,  yet  it  must  be  con- 
fessed, that  in  proportion  to  the  pleasure  of  posses- 
sion, will  be  for  some  time  our  sorrow  for  the  loss  ; 
it  is  therefore  the  province  of  the  moralist  to  inquire 
whether  such  pains  may  not  quickly  give  way  to 
mitigation.  Some  have  thought  that  the  most  cer- 
tain  way  to  clear  the  heart  from  its  embarrassment, 
is  to  drag  it  by  force  into  scenes  of  merriment. 
Others  imagme,  that  such  a  transition  is  too  violent, 
and  recommend  rather  to  soothe  it  into  tranquillity, 
by  making  it  acquainted  with  miseries  more  dread- 
ful and  afflictive,  and  diverting  to  the  calamities  of 
others  the  regard  which  we  are  inclined  to  fix  too 
closely  upon  our  own  misfortunes. 

It  may  be  doubted  whether  either  of  those  reme- 
dies will  be  sufficiently  powerful.  The  efficacy  of 
mirth  it  is  not  always  easy  to  try,  and  the  indulgence 
of  melancholy  may  be  suspected  to  be  one  of  those 
medicines  which  will  destroy,  if  it  happens  not  to 

340  RAMBLER.  NO.   47. 

The  safe  aud  general  antidote  against  sorrow,  is 
employment.  It  is  commonly  observed,  that  among 
soldiers  and  seamen,  though  there  is  much  kindness, 
there  is  little  grief;  they  see  their  friend  fall  without 
any  of  that  lamentation  which  is  indulged  in  security 
aud  idleness,  because  they  have  no  leisure  to  spare 
from  the  care  of  themselves ;  and  whoever  shall 
keep  his  thoughts  equally  busy,  will  find  himself 
equally  unaffected  with  irretrievable  losses. 

Time  is  observed  generally  to  wear  out  sorrow, 
and  its  effects  might  doubtless  be  accelerated  by 
quickening  the  succession,  and  enlarging  the  variety 
of  objects. 

— Si  tempore  longo 
Lenin  2)0terit  lucttis,  tu  sperne  morari, 
Qui  sapiet  sibi  tempus  erit. —  grotius. 

'Tis  long  ere  time  can  mitigate  your  gi'ief; 

To  wisdom  fly,  she  quickly  brings  relief.         F.  lewis. 

Sorrow  is  a  kind  of  rust  of  the  soul,  which  every 
new  idea  contributes  in  its  passage  to  scour  away. 
It  is  the  putrefaction  of  stagnant  life,  and  is  remedied 
by  exercise  and  motion. 

NO.   48.  RAMBLER.  341 

No.  48.     SATURDAY,   SEPTEMBER  1,  1750. 

Non  est  vivere,  sed  valere,  vita. 

MART.  EPIG.   Vi.   70.   15. 

For  life  is  not  to  live,  but  to  be  well.        elphlnston. 

Among  tlie  innumerable  follies  by  which  we  lay 
up  in  our  youth  repentance  and  remorse  for  the  suc- 
ceeding part  of  our  lives,  there  is  scarce  any  against 
which  warnings  are  of  less  efficacy,  than  the  neglect 
of  health.  When  the  springs  of  motion  are  yet 
elastic,  when  the  heart  bounds  with  vigour,  and  the 
eye  sparkles  with  spirit,  it  is  with  difficulty  that  we 
are  taught  to  conceive  the  imbecility  that  every  hour 
is  bringing  upon  us,  or  to  imagine  that  the  nerves 
which  are  now  braced  with  so  much  strength,  and 
the  limbs  which  play  with  so  much  activity,  will  lose 
all  their  power  under  the  gripe  of  time,  relax  with 
numbness,  and  totter  with  debility. 

To  the  arguments  which  have  been  used  against 
complaints  under  the  miseries  of  life,  the  philoso- 
phers have,  I  think,  forgot  to  add  the  incredulity  of 
those  to  whom  we  recount  our  sufferings.  But  if 
the  purpose  of  lamentation  be  to  excite  pity,  it  is 
surely  superfluous  for  age  and  weakness  to  tell  their 
plaintive  stories  ;  for  pity  presupposes  sympathy, 
and  a  little  attention  will  show  them,  that  those  who 
do  not  feel  pain,  seldom  think  that  it  is  felt ;  and  a 
short  recollection  will  inform  almost  every  man,  that 
he  is  only  repaid  the  insult  which  he  has  given, 
since  he  may  remember  how  often  he  has  mocked 

342  RAMBLER.  NO.    48. 

infirmity,  laughed  at  its  cautions,  and  censured  its 

The  valetudinarian  race  have  made  the  care  of 
health  ridiculous  by  suffering  it  to  prevail  over  all 
other  considerations,  as  the  miser  has  brought  fru- 
gality into  contempt,  by  permitting  the  love  of  money 
not  to  share,  but  to  engross  his  mind :  they  both  err 
alike,  by  confounding  the  means  Avith  the  end ;  they 
grasp  at  health  only  to  be  well,  as  at  money  only 
to  be  rich,  and  forget  that  every  terrestrial  advan- 
tage is  chiefly  valuable,  as  it  furnishes  abihties  for 
the  exercise  of  virtue. 

Health  is,  indeed,  so  necessary  to  all  the  duties, 
as  well  as  pleasures  of  life,  that  the  crime  of  squan- 
dering it  is  equal  to  the  folly  ;  and  he  that  for  a  short 
gratification  brings  weakness  and  diseases  upon  him- 
self, and  for  the  pleasure  of  a  few  years  passed  in 
the  tumults  of  diversions  and  clamours  of  merriment, 
condemns  the  maturer  and  more  experienced  part  of 
his  life  to  the  chamber  and  the  couch,  may  be  justly 
reproached,  not  only  as  a  spendthrift  of  his  own 
happiness,  but  as  a  robber  of  the  public ;  as  a 
wretch  that  has  voluntarily  disqualified  himself  for 
the  business  of  his  station,  and  refused  that  part 
which  Providence  assigns  him  in  the  general  task 
of  human  nature. 

There  are,  perhaps,  very  few  conditions  more  to 
be  pitied  than  that  of  an  active  and  elevated  mind, 
labouring  under  the  weight  of  a  distempered  body. 
The  time  of  such  a  man  is  always  spent  in  forming 
schemes,  which  a  change  of  wind  hinders  him  from 
executing  ;  his  powers  fume  away  in  projects  and  in 
hope,  and  the  day  of  action  never  arrives.  ,  He  lies 
down  delighted  with  the  thoughts  of  to-morrow, 
pleases  his  ambition  with  the  fame  he  shall  acquire, 
or  his  benevolence  with  the .  good  he  shall  confer. 

NO.   48.  RAMBLER.  343 

But  in  the  niglit  the  skies  are  overcast,  the  temper 
of  the  air  is  changed,  he  wakes  in  languor,  impa- 
tience, and  distraction,  and  has  no  longer  any  wish 
but  for  ease,  nor  any  attention  but  to  misery.  It 
may  be  said  that  disease  generally  begins  that  equal- 
ity which  death  completes ;  the  distinctions  which 
set  one  man  so  much  above  another  are  very  little 
perceived  in  the  gloom  of  a  sick  chamber,  where  it 
will  be  vain  to  expect  entertainment  from  the  gay, 
or  instruction  from  the  wise  ;  where  all  human  glory 
is  obliterated,  the  wit  is  clouded,  the  reasoner  per- 
plexed, and  the  hero  subdued ;  where  the  highest 
and  brightest  of  mortal  beings  finds  nothing  left  him 
but  the  consciousness  of  innocence. 

There  is  among  the  fragments  of  the  Greek  poets 
a  short  hymn  to  Health,  in  which  her  power  of  ex- 
alting the  happiness  of  life,  of  heightening  the  gifts 
of  fortune,  and  adding  enjoyment  to  possession,  is 
inculcated  with  so  much  force  and  beauty,  that  no 
one,  who  has  ever  languished  under,  the  discomforts 
and  infirmities  of  a  lingering  disease,  can  read  it 
without  feeling  the  images  dance  in  his  heart,  and 
adding,  from  his  own  experience,  new  vigour  to  the 
wish,  and,  from  his  own  imagination,  new  colours  to 
the  picture.  The  particular  occasion  of  this  little 
composition  is  not  known,  but  it  is  probable  that  the 
author  had  been  sick,  and  in  the  first  raptures  of 
returning  vigour  addressed  Health  in  the  following 
manner :  — 

'Tyteta  TrpeafSLGTa  Ma/capwv, 
Mera  aov  vaiotiii 

To  Ti^etTTOfievov  (Siordg  • 
S?)  6e  fioi  7vpo^pC)v  avvoiKog  elyc. 
Ei  yap  Tig  7}  tzXovtov  ^'tipif,  f/  tekeuv, 

Tug  Evdalfiovog,  t'  av^punoig 
BaaiTiTjidog  apxag,  v  irodov, 
Ovg  Kpv(l>coLg  ' k.(ppo6iTrig  apKvaiv  '&7]p£vo{j,ev. 

344  .  RAMBLER.  NO.   48. 

"H  el  rig  a21a  Td-eo^ev  uvd-po)iroig  repipig, 

"H  TTOvov  a/iTTVoa  ireipavTaL  • 
Merd  aslo  /laKapia  'Tyieia, 
Te^yls  Tzavra,  Koi  TiUfiTvet  ;(;apirwv  sap  • 

^td-ev  6e  X'^P^^^  ovdelg  Ivdal/iuv  TreXei. 

*  Health,  most  venerable  of  the  powers  of  Heaven  ! 
with  thee  may  the  remaining  part  of  my  life  be  passed, 
nor  do  thou  refuse  to  bless  me  with  thy  residence. 
For  whatever  there  is  of  beauty  or  of  pleasure  in 
wealth,  in  descendants,  or  in  sovereign  command, 
the  highest  summit  of  human  enjoyment,  or  in  those 
objects  of  desh'e  which  we  endeavour  to  chase  into 
the  toils  of  love ;  whatever  delight,  or  whatever 
solace  is  granted  by  the  celestials  to  soften  our  fa- 
tigues ;  in  thy  presence,  thou  parent  of  happiness,  all 
those  jays  spread  out  and  flourish ;  in  thy  presence 
blooms  the  spring  of  pleasure,  and  without  thee  no 
man  is  hajjpy.' 

Such  is  the  power  of  health,  that  without  its 
cooperation  every  other  comfort  is  torpid  and  life- 
less, as  the  powers  of  vegetation  without  the  sun. 
And  yet  this  bliss  is  commonly  thrown  away  in 
thoughtless  negligence,  or  in  foolish  experiments  on 
our  own  strength ;  we  let  it  perish  without  remem- 
bering its  value,  or  waste  it  to  show  how  much  we 
have  to  spare  ;  it  is  sometimes  given  up  to  the 
management  of  levity  and  chance,  and  sometimes 
sold  for  the  applause  of  jollity  and  debauchery. 

Health  is  equally  neglected,  and  with  equal  im- 
propriety, by  the  votaries  of  business  and  the  fol- 
lowers of  pleasure.  Some  men  ruin  the  fabric  of 
their  bodies  by  incessant  revels,  and  others  by 
intemperate  studies ;  some  batter  it  by  excess,  and 
others  sap  it  by  inactivity.  To  the  noisy  rout  of 
bacchanalian  rioters,  it  will  be  to  little  purpose  that 

NO.    48.  RAMBLER.  345 

advice  is  oflPered,  though  it  requires  no  great  abili- 
ties to  prove,  that  he  loses  pleasure  who  loses 
health ;  their  clamours  are  too  loud  for  the  whispers 
of  caution,  and  tliej  run  the  course  of  life  with  too 
much  precipitance  to  stop  at  the  call  of  wisdom. 
Nor,  perhaps,  will  they  that  are  busied  in  adding 
thousands  to  thousands,  pay  much  regard  to  him 
that  shall  direct  them  to  hasten  more  slowly  to  their 
wishes.  Yet  since  lovers  of  money  are  generally 
cool,  deliberate,  and  thoughtful,  they  might  surely 
consider,  that  the  greater  good  ought  not  to  be  sacri- 
ficed to  the  less.  Health  is  certainly  more  valuable 
than  money,  because  it  is  by  health  that  money  is 
procured ;  but  thousands  and  million*s  are  of  small 
avail  to  alleviate  the  protracted  torturers  of  the  gout, 
to  repair  the  broken  organs  of  sense,  or  resuscitate 
the  powers  of  disgestion.  Poverty  is,  indeed,  an 
evil  from  which  we  naturally  fly  ;  but  let  us  not  run 
from  one  enemy  to  another,  nor  take  shelter  in  the 
arms  of  sickness. 

— Projecere  animam ;  quam  vellent  cBtliere  in  alto 
Nunc  et paujyeriem^  et  duros  iolerare  labores.! 

For  healthful  indigence  in  vain  they  pray, 

In  quest  of  wealth  who  throw  theh  lives  away. 

Those  who  lose  their  health  in  an  irregular  and 
impetuous  pursuit  of  literary  accomplishments,  are 
yet  less  to  be  excused ;  for  they  ought  to  know  that 
the  body  is  not  forced  beyond  its  strength,  but  with 
the  loss  of  more  vigour  than  is  proportionate  to  the 
effect  produced.  Whoever  takes  up  life  beforehand, 
by  depriving  himself  of  rest  and  refreshment,  must 
not  only  pay  back  the  hours,  but  pay  them  back 
with  usury ,  and  for  the-  gain  of  a  few  months  but 
half  enjoyed,  must  give  up  years  to  the  listlessness 
of  languor,  and  the  implacability  of  pain.      They 

346  RAMBLER.  NO.   49. 

whose  endeavour  is  mental  excellence,  will  learn, 
perhaps,  too  late,  how  much  it  is  endangered  by 
diseases  of  the  body,  and  find  that  knowledge  may 
easily  be  lost  in  the  starts  of  melancholy,  the  flights 
of  impatience,  and  the  peevishness  of  decrepitude. 

No.  49.     TUESDAY,   SEPTEMBER  4,  1750. 

Non  omnis  moriar ;  muUaque  pars  mei 

Vitabii  Libitinam.     Usque  egopostera 

Orescam  laude  recens. —  hor.  car.  iii.  30.  6. 

Whole  Horace  shall  not  die ;  his  songs  shall  save 

The  greatest  portion  from  the  greedy  grave,      creeoh. 

The  first  motives  of  human  actions  are  those  ap- 
petites which  Providence  has  given  to  man  in  com- 
mon with  the  rest  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  earth. 
Immediately  after  our  birth,  thirst  and  hunger  in- 
cline us  to  the  breast,  which  we  draw  by  instinct 
like  other  young  creatures,  and  when  we  are  satis- 
fied, we  express  our  uneasiness  by  importunate  and 
incessant  cries,  till  we  have  obtained  a  place  or 
posture  proper  for  repose. 

The  next  call  that  rouses  us  from  a  state  of  inac- 
tivity, is  that  of  our  passions  :  we  quickly  begin  to  be 
sensible  of  hope  and  fear,  love  and  hatred,  desire 
and  aversion  ;  these  arising  from  the  power  of  com- 
parison and  reflection,  extend  their  range  wider,  as 
our  reason  strengthens,  and  our  knowledge  enlarges. 
At  first  we  have  no  thought  of  pain,  but  when  we 

NO.    49.  KAMBLER.  347 

actually  feel  it ;  we  afterwards  begin  to  fear  it,  yet 
not  before  it  approaches  us  very  nearly ;  but  by  de- 
grees we  discover  it  at  a  greater  distance,  and  find 
it  lurking  in  remote  consequences.  Our  terror  in 
time  improves  into  caution,  and  we  learn  to  look 
round  with  vigilance  and  solicitude,  to  stop  all  the 
avenues  at  which  misery  can  enter,  and  to  perform 
or  endure  many  things  in  themselves  toilsome  and 
unpleasing,  because  we  know  by  reason,  or  by  ex- 
perience, that  our  labour  will  be  overbalanced  by 
the  reward ;  that  it  will  either  procure  some  positive 
good,  or  avert  some  evil  greater  than  itself. 

But  as  the  soul  advances  to  a  fuller  exercise  of 
its  powers,  the  animal  appetites,  and  the  passions 
immediately  arising  from  them,  are  not  sufficient  to 
find  it  employment ;  the  wants  of  nature  are  soon 
supplied,  the  fear  of  their  return  is  easily  precluded, 
and  something  more  is  necessary  to  relieve  the  long 
intervals  of  inactivity,  and  to  give  those  faculties, 
which  cannot  lie  wholly  quiescent,  some  particular 
direction.  For  this  reason,  new  desires  and  arti- 
ficial passions  are  by  degrees  produced ;  and  from 
having  wishes  only  in  consequence  of  our  wants,  we 
begin  to  feel  wants  in  consequence  of  our  wishes ; 
we  persuade  ourselves  to  set  a  value  upon  things 
which  are  of  no  use,  but  because  we  have  agreed 
to  value  them ;  things  which  can  neither  satisfy 
hunger,  nor  mitigate  pain,  nor  secure  us  from  any 
real  calamity,  and  which,  therefore,  we  find  of  no 
esteem  among  those  nations  whose  artless  and  bar- 
barous manners  keep  them  always  anxious  for  the 
necessaries  of  life. 

This  is  the  original  of  avarice,  vanity,  ambition, 
and  generally  of  all  those  desires,  which  arise  from 
the  comparison  of  our  condition  with  that  of  others. 
He  that  thinks  himself  poor,  because  his  neighbour 

348  RAMBLER.  NO.   49. 

is  richer ;  he  that,  like  Caesar,  would  rather  be  the 
first  man  of  a  village,  than  the  second  in  the  capital 
of  the  world,  has  apparently  kindled  in  himself  de- 
sires which  he  never  received  from  nature,  and  acts 
upon  principles  established  only  by  the  authority  of 

Of  those  adscititious  passions,  some,  as  avarice  and 
envy,  are  universally  condemned ;  some,  as  friend- 
ship and  curiosity,  generally  praised ;  but  there  are 
others  about  which  the  suffrages  of  the  wise  are  di- 
vided, and  of  which  it  is  doubted,  whether  they  tend 
most  to  promote  the  happiness,  or  increase  the  mise- 
ries of  mankind. 

Of  this  ambiguous  and  disputable  kind  is  the  love 
of  fame,  a  desire  of  filling  the  minds  of  others  with 
admiration,  and  of  being  celebrated  by  generations 
to  come  with  praises  which  we  shall  not  hear.  This 
ardour  has  been  considered  by  some,  as  nothing 
better  than  splendid  madness,  as  a  flame  kindled  by 
pride,  and  fanned  by  folly ;  for  what,  say  they,  can 
be  more  remote  from  wisdom,  than  to  direct  all  our 
actions  by  the  hope  of  that  which  is  not  to  exist  till 
we  ourselves  are  in  the  grave  ?  To  pant  after  that 
which  can  never  be  possessed,  and  of  which  the 
value  thus  wildly  put  upon  it  arises  from  this  partic- 
ular condition,  that  durmg  life  it  is  not  to  be  ob- 
tained ?  To  gain  the  favour,  and  hear  the  applauses 
of  our  contemporaries,  is,  indeed,  equally  desirable 
with  any  other  prerogative  of  superiority,  because 
fame  may  be  of  use  to  smooth  the  paths  of  life,  to 
terrify  opposition,  and  fortify  tranquillity ;  but  to 
what  end  shall  we  be  the  darlings  of  mankind,  when 
we  can  no  longer  receive  any  benefits  from  their 
favour  ?  It  is  more  reasonable  to  wish  for  reputa- 
tion, while  it  may  yet  be  enjoyed,  as  Anacreon  calls 
upon  his  companions  to  give  him  for  present  use  the 

NO.    49.  RA31BLER.  349 

wine   and  garlands  which  they  purpose  to  bestow 
upon  his  tomb. 

The  advocates  for  the  love  of  fame  allege  in  its 
vindication,  that  it  is  a  passion  natural  and  univer- 
sal ;  a  flame  lighted  by  Heaven,  and  always  burning 
with  greatest  vigour  in  the  most   enlarged  and  ele- 
vated minds.     That  the  desire  of  being  praised  by 
posterity  implies  a  resolution  to  deserve  their  praises, 
and  that  the  folly  charged  upon  it,  is   only  a  noble 
and  disinterested  generosity,  which  is  not  felt,  and, 
therefore,  not  understood  by  those  who  have  been 
always  accustomed  to  refer  every  thing  to  them- 
selves, and  whose  selfishness  has  contracted  their 
understandings.     That  the  soul  of  man,  formed  for 
eternal  life,  naturally  springs  forward  beyond  the 
limits  of  corporeal  existence,  and  rejoices  to  consider 
herself  as  cooperating  with  future  ages,  and  as  co- 
extended  with  endless  duration.    Tiiat  the  reproach 
urged  with  so  much  petulance,  the  reproach  of  labour- 
ing for  what  cannot  be  enjoyed,  is  founded  on   an 
opinion  which  may,  with  great  probability,  be  doubt- 
ed; for  since  we  suppose  the  powers  of  the  soul  to 
be  enlarged   by  its   separation,  why  should  we  con- 
clude that  its  knowledge  of  sublunary  transactions  is 
contracted  or  extinguished? 

Upon  an  attentive  and  impartial  review  of  the 
argument,  it  will  appear  that  the  love  of  fame  is  to 
be  regulated  rather  than  extinguished;  and  that 
men  should  be  taught  not  to  be  wholly  careless  about 
their  memory,  but  to  endeavour  that  they  may  be 
remembered  chiefly  for  their  virtues,  since  no  other 
reputation  will  be  able  to  transmit  any  pleasure 
beyond  the  grave. 

It  is  evident  that  fame,  considered  merely  as  the 
immortality  of  a  name,  is  not  less  hkely  to  be  the 
reward  of  bad  actions  than  of  good ;  he,  therefore, 

350  RAMBLER.  XO.   49. 

has  no  certain  principle  for  the  regulation  of  his 
conduct,  whose  single  aim  is  not  to  be  forgotten. 
And  history  will  inform  us,  that  this  blind  and  un- 
distinguishing  appetite  of  renown  has  always  been 
uncertain  in  its  effects,  and  directed,  by  accident  or 
opportunity,  indifferently  to  the  benefit  or  devasta- 
tion of  the  world.  When  Themistocles  complained 
that  the  trophies  of  Miltiades  hindered  him  from 
sleep,  he  was  animated  by  them  to  perform  the  same 
services  in  the  same  cause.  But  Caesar,  when  he 
wept  at  the  sight  of  Alexander's  picture,  having  no 
honest  opportunities  of  action,  let  his  ambition  break 
out  to  the  ruin  of  his  country. 

If,  therefore,  the  love  of  fame  is  so  far  indulged 
by  the  mind  as  to  become  independent  and  predom- 
inant, it  is  dangerous  and  irregular ;  but  it  may  be 
usefully  employed  as  an  inferior  and  secondary  mo- 
tive, and  will  serve  sometimes  to  revive  our  activity, 
when  we  beo;in  to  lano;uish  and  lose  si^ht  of  that 
more  certain,  more  valuable,  and  more  durable  re- 
ward, which  ought  always  to  be  our  first  hope  and 
our  last.  But  it  must  be  strongly  impressed  upon 
our  minds,  that  virtue  is  not  to  be  pursued  as  one 
of  the  means  to  fame,  but  fame  to  be  accepted  as 
the  only  recompense  which  mortals  can  bestow  on 
virtue ;  to  be  accepted  with  complacence,  but  not 
sought  with  eagerness.  Simply  to  be  remembered 
is  no  advantage ;  it  is  a  privilege  which  satire  as 
well  as  panegyric  can  confer,  and  is  not  more  en- 
joyed by  Titus  or  Constantine,  than  by  Timocreon, 
of  Rhodes,  of  whom  we  only  know  from  his  epitaph, 
'  that  he  had  eaten  many  a  meal,  drank  many  a 
flagon,  and  uttered  many  a  reproach.' 

Ilo/l/la  (payiov^  Kai  iroTiXu  tzIuv,  koI  TzoiXka  KaK.''  elndv 
'AvTdpcoTTOvgj  Kelfiai  Tifioitpiuv  'Podiog. 

NO.    50.  RAMBLER.  351 

The  true  satisfaction  which  is  to  be  drawn  from 
the  consciousness  that  we  shall  share  the  attention 
of  future  times,  must  arise  from  the  hope,  that,  with 
our  name,  our  virtues  will  be  propagated ;  and  that 
those  whom  we  cannot  benefit  in  our  lives,  may  re- 
ceive instruction  from  our  examples,  and  incitement 
from  our  renown. 

No.  50.     SATURDAY,  SEPTEJ^JDBER  8,  1750. 

Credebant  hoc  grande  nefas^  et  Tnorte  jnandum, 
SI  juvenis  veiulo  non  assurrexerat,  atque 
Barbato  cuicxinque puer ;  licet  ipse  viaeret 
Plura  domi  fraga,  et  majores  glandis  acervos. 

juv.  SAT.  xiii.  54. 

And  had  not  men  the  hoary  head  revered, 
And  boys  paid  reverence  when  a  man  appear'd, 
Both  must  have  died,  though  richer  skins  they  wore, 
And  saw  more  heaps  of  acorns  in  their  store. 


I  HAVE  always  thought  it  the  business  of  those 
who  turn  their  speculations  upon  the  living  world, 
to  commend  their  virtues,  as  well  as  to  expose  the 
faults  of  their  contemporaries,  and  to  confute  a  false 
as  well  as  to  support  a  just  accusation ;  not  only  be- 
cause it  is  peculiarly  the  business  of  a  monitor  to 
keep  his  own  reputation  untainted,  lest  those  who 
can  once  charge  him  with  partiality,  should  indulge 
themselves  afterwards  in  disbelieving  him  at  pleas- 
ure ;  but  because  he  may  find  real  crimes  sufficient 
to  give  full  employment  to  caution  or  repentance, 

352  RAMBLER.  NO.    50. 

without  distracting  the  mind  by  needless  scruples 
and  vain  solicitudes. 

There  are  certain  fixed  and  stated  reproaches 
that  one  part  of  mankind  has  in  all  ages  thrown 
upon  another,  which  are  regularly  transmitted 
through  continued  successions,  and  which  he  that 
has  once  suffered  them  is  certain  to  use  with  the 
same  undistinguished  vehemence,  when  he  has 
changed  his  station,  and  gained  the  prescriptive 
right  of  inflicting  on  others  what  he  had  formerly 
endured  himself. 

To  these  hereditary  imputations,  of  which  no  man 
sees  the  justice,  till  it  becomes  his  interest  to  see 
it,  very  little  regard  is  to  be  shown  :  since  it  does 
not  appear  that  they  are  produced  by  ratiocination 
or  inquiry,  but  received  implicitly,  or  caught  by  a 
kind  of  instantaneous  contagion,  and  supported 
rather  by  willingness  to  credit,  than  ability  to  prove 
them.  ^ 

It  has  been  always  the  practice  of  those  who  are 
desirous  to  believe  themselves  made  venerable  by 
length  of  time,  to  censure  the  new-comers  into  life, 
for  want  of  respect  to  gray  hairs  and  sage  experience, 
for  heady  confidence  in  their  own  understandings, 
for  hasty  conclusions  upon  partial  views,  for  disre- 
gard of  counsels,  which  their  fathers  and  grandsires 
are  ready  to  afford  them,  and  a  rebellious  impatience 
of  that  subordination  to  which  youth  is  condemned 
by  nature,  as  necessary  to  its  security  from  evils 
into  which  it  would  be  otherwise  precipitated,  by 
the  rashness  of  passion,  and  the  blindness  of 

Every  old  man  complains  of  the  growing  depravity 
of  the  world,  of  the  petulance  and  insolence  of  the 
rising  generation.  He  recounts  the  decency  and  reg- 
ularity of  former  times,  and  celebrates  the  disci- 

NO.    50.  RAMBLER.  353 

pline  and  sobriety  of  the  age  in  which  his  youth  was 
passed ;  a  happy  age,  which  is  now  no  more  to  be 
expected,  since  confusion  has  broken  in  upon  the 
world,  and  thrown  down  all  the  boundaries  of  civil- 
ity and  reverence. 

It  is  not  sufficiently  considered  how  much  he  as- 
sumes who  dares  to  claim  the  privilege  of  complain- 
ing ;  for  as  every  man  has,  in  his  own  opinion,  a  full 
share  of  the  miseries  of  life,  he  is  inclined  to  con- 
sider all  clamorous  uneasiness  as  a  proof  of  impa- 
tience rather  than  of  affliction,  and  to  ask,  what 
merit  has  this  man  to  show,  by  which  he  has  ac- 
quired a  right  to  repine  at  the  distributions  of  nature  ? 
Or,  why  does  he  imagine  that  exemptions  should  be 
granted  him  from  the  general  conditions  of  man  ? 
We  find  ourselves  excited  rather  to  captiousness 
than  pity,  and  instead  of  being  in  haste  to  soothe 
his  complaints  by  sympathy  and  tenderness,  we  in- 
quire, whether  the  pain  be  proportionate  to  the 
lamentation ;  and  whether,  supposing  the  affliction 
real,  it  is  not  the  effect  of  vice  and  folly,  rather  than 
calamity  ? 

The  querulousness  and  indignation  which  is  ob- 
served so  often  to  disfigure  the  last  scene  of  life, 
naturally  leads  us  to  inquiries  like  these.  For  surely 
it  will  be  thought  at  the  first  view  of  things,  that  if 
age  be  thus  contemned  and  ridiculed,  insulted  and 
neglected,  the  crime  must  at  least  be  equal  on  either 
part.  They  who  have  had  opportunities  of  estab- 
lishing their  authority  over  minds  ductile  and  unre- 
sisting, they  who  have  been  the  protectors  of 
helplessness  and  the  instructors  of  ignorance,  and 
who  yet  retain  in  their  own  hands  the  power  of  wealth 
and  the  dignity  of  command,  must  defeat  their  in- 
fluence by  their  own  misconduct,  and  make  use.  of 
all  these   advantages  with  very  little   skill,  if  they 

VOL.  XVI.  23 

354  RAMBLER.  NO.    50. 

cannot  secure  to  themselves  an  appearance  of 
respect,  and  ward  off  open  mockery  and  declared 

The  general  story  of  mankind  will  evmce,  that 
lawful  and  settled  authority  is  very  seldom  resisted 
when  it  is  well  employed.  Gross  corruption,  or 
evident  imbecility,  is  necessary  to  the  suppression 
of  that  reverence  with  which  the  majority  of  man- 
kind look  upon  their  governors,  and  on  those  whom 
they  see  surrounded  by  splendour  and  fortified  by 
power.  For  though  men  are  drawn  by  their  pas- 
sions into  forgetfuhiess  of  invisible  rewards  and 
punishments,  yet  they  are  easily  kept  obedient  to 
those  who  have  temporal  dominion  in  their  hands, 
till  their  veneration  is  dissipated  by  such  wicked- 
ness and  folly  as  can  neither  be  defended  nor 

It  may,  therefore,  very  reasonably  be   suspected 
that  the  old  draw  upon  themselves  the  greatest  part 
of  those  insults,  which  they  so  much  lament,  and 
that  age  is  rarely  despised  but  when  it  is  contemp- 
tible.    If  men  imagine   that  excess  of  debauchery 
can  be  made  reverend  by  time,  that  knowledge  is 
the  consequence  of  long  life,  however  idly  or  thought- 
lessly employed,  that  priority  of  birth  will  supply 
the  want  of  steadiness  or  honesty,  can  it  raise  much 
wonder  that  their  hopes  are  disappointed,  and  that 
they  see  their  posterity  rather  willing  to  trust  their 
own    eyes    in  their   progress  into    life,  than    enlist 
themselves  under  guides  who  have  lost  their  way . 
There  are,  indeed,  many  truths  which  time  neces- 
sarily  and   certainly  teaches,  and  which  might,  by 
those  who  have  learned  them  from  experience,  be 
communicated  to  their  successors  at  a  cheaper  rate ; 
but  dictates,  though  liberally  enough  bestowed,  are 
generally  without  effect,  the  teacher  gains  few  pros- 

NO.    50,  KAMBLER.  355 

eljtes  by  instruction  wliich  his  own  behaviour  con- 
tradicts ;  and  young  men  miss  the  benefit  of  counsel, 
because  they  are  not  very  ready  to  beheve  that 
those  who  fall  below  them  in  practice,  can  much 
excel  them  in  theory.  Thus  the  progress  of  knowl- 
edge is  retarded,  the  world  is  kept  long  in  the  same 
state,  and  every  new  race  is  to  gain  the  prudence 
of  their  predecessors  by  committing  and  redressing 
the  same  miscarriages. 

To  secure  to  the  old  that  influence  which  they  are 
willing  to  claim,  and  which  might  so  much  contrib- 
ute to  the  improvement  of  the  arts  of  life,  it  is  abso- 
lutely necessary  that  they  give  themselves  up  to 
the  duties  of  declining  years ;  and  contentedly  re- 
sign to  youth  its  levity,  its  pleasures,  its  frolics,  and 
its  fopperies.  It  is  a  hopeless  endeavour  to  unite 
the  contrarieties  of  spring  and  winter ;  it  is  unjust 
to  claim  the  privileges  of  age,  and  retain  the  play- 
things of  childhood.  The  young  always  form  mag- 
nificent ideas  of  the  wisdom  and  gravity  of  men, 
whom  they  consider  as  placed  at  a  distance  from 
them  in  the  ranks  of  existence,  and  naturally  look 
on  those  whom  they  find  trifling  with  long  beards, 
wnth  contempt  and  indignation,  like  that  which 
women  feel  at  the  effeminacy  of  men.  If  dotards 
will  contend  with  boys  in  those  performances  in 
which  boys  must  always  excel  them ;  if  they  will 
dress  crippled  limbs  in  embroidery,  endeavour  at 
gayety  with  faltering  voices,  and  darken  assemblies 
of  pleasure  with  the  ghastliness  of  disease,  they 
may  well  expect  those  who  find  their  diversions 
obstructed  will  hoot  them  away ;  and  that,  if  they 
descend  to  competition  with  youth,  they  must  bear 
the  insolence  of  successful  rivals. 

356  RAMBLER.  NO.    50. 

Jjusisti  satis,  edisti  satis,  atque  hibisii ; 

Tempm  abire  tibi  est. —  HOR.  epist.  ii.  2.  214. 

You've  had  your  share  of  mirth,  of  meat  and  drmk: 
'T is  time  to  quit  the  scene — 'tis  time  to  think. 


Another  vice  of  age,  by  which  the  rising  genera- 
tion may  be  alienated  from  it,  is  severity  and  cen- 
soriousness,  that  gives  no  allowance  to  the  failings 
of  early  life,  that  expects  artfulness  from  childhood 
and  constancy  from  youth,  that  is  peremptory  in 
every  command,  and  inexorable  to  every  failure. 
There  are  many  who  live  merely  to  hinder  happi- 
ness, and  whose  descendants  can  only  tell  of  long 
life,  that  it  produces  suspicion,  malignity,  peevish- 
ness, and  persecution ;  and  yet  even  these  tyrants 
can  talk  of  the  ingratitude  of  the  age,  curse  their 
heirs  for  impatience,  and  wonder  that  young  men 
cannot  take  pleasure  in  their  father's  company. 

He  that  would  pass  the  latter  part  of  life  with 
honour  and  decency,  must,  when  he  is  young,  con- 
sider that  he  shall  one  day  be  old ;  and  remember, 
when  he  is  old,  that  he  has  once  been  young.  In 
youth  he  must  lay  up  knowledge  for  his  support, 
when  his  powers  of  acting  shall  forsake  him  ;  and 
in  age  forbear  to  animadvert  with  rigour  on  faults 
which  experience  only  can  correct. 

NO.    51.  RAMBLER.  357 

No.  51.     TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER  11,    1750. 

— Stultus  labor  est  ineptiarum. 

AT  ART.  EPIG.  ii.  86.  10. 

How  foolish  is  the  toil  of  trifling  cares !      elphtnston. 

"  TO    THE    RAMBLER. 
"  SIR, 

"  As  you  have  allo^Yed  a  place  in  your  paper  to 
Euphelia's  letters  from  the  country,  and  appear  to 
think  no  form  of  human  life  unworthy  of  your  atten- 
tion, I  have  resolved,  after  many  struggles  with  idle- 
ness and  diflS.dence,  to  give  you  some  account  of  my 
entertainment  in  this  sober  season  of  universal 
retreat,  and  to  describe  to  you  the  employments  of 
those  who  look  with  contempt  on  the  pleasures  and 
diversions  of  polite  life,  and  employ  all  their  powers 
of  censure  and  invective  upon  the  uselessness,  vanity, 
and  folly,  of  dress,  visits,  and  conversation. 

"  When  a  tiresome  and  vexatious  journey  of  four 
days  had  brought  me  to  the  house,  where  invitation, 
regularly  sent  for  seven  years  together,  had  at  last 
induced  me  to  pass  the  summer,  I  was  surprised, 
after  the  civilities  of  my  first  reception,  to  find, 
instead  of  the  leisure  and  tranquillity  which  a  rural 
life  always  promises,  and,  if  well  conducted,  might 
always  afford,  a  confused  wildness  of  care,  and  a 
tumultuous  hurry  of  dihgence,  by  which  every  face 
was  clouded  and  every  motion  agitated.  The  old 
lady,  who  was  my  father's  relation,  was,  indeed. 

358  RAMBLER.  NO.  61. 

very  full  of  the  happiness  which  she  received  from 
my  visit,  and,  according  to  the  forms  of  obsolete 
breeding,  insisted  that  I  should  recompense  the  long 
delay  of  my  company  with  a  promise  not  to  leave 
her  till  winter.  But,  amidst  all  her  kindness  and 
caresses,  she  very  frequently  turned  her  head  aside, 
and  whispered,  with  anxious  earnestness,  some  order 
to  her  daughters,,  which  never  failed  to  send  them 
out  with  unpolite  precipitation.  Sometimes  her 
impatience  would  not  suffer  her  to  stay  behind  ; 
she  begged  my  pardon,  she  must  leave  me  for  a  mo- 
ment ;  she  went,  and  returned  and  sat  down  again, 
but  was  again  disturbed  by  some  new  care,  dismissed 
her  daughters  with  the  same  trepidation,  and  fol- 
lowed them  with  the  same  countenance  of  business 
and  solicitude. 

"  However  I  was  alarmed  at  this  show  of  eager- 
ness and  disturbance,  and  however  my  curiosity 
was  excited  by  such  busy  preparations  as  naturally 
promised  some  great  event,  I  was  yet  too  much  a 
stranger  to  gratify  myself  with  inquiries  ;  but  find- 
ing none  of  the  family  in  mourning,  I  pleased  my- 
self with  imagining  that  I  should  rather  see  a  wed- 
ding than  a  funeral. 

"  At  last  we  sat  down  to  supper,  when  I  was  in- 
formed that  one  of  the  young  ladies,  after  whom  I 
thought  myself  obliged  to  inquire,  was  -under  a  ne- 
cessity of  attending  some  affair  that  could  not  be 
neglected  :  soon  afterward  my  relation  began  to  talk 
of  the  regularity  of  her  family,  and  the  inconveni- 
ence of  London  hours  ;  and,  at  last,  let  me  know  that 
they  had  purposed  that  night  to  go  to  bed  sooner 
than  was  usual,  because  they  were  to  rise  early  in 
the  morning  to  cheesecakes.  This  hint  sent  me  to 
my  chamber,  to  which  I  was  accompanied  by  all  the 
ladies,  who  begged  me  to  excuse  some  large  sieves 

NO.    51.  RAMBLER.  359 

of  leaves  and  flowers  that  covered  two  thirds  of  the 
floor,  for  they  intended  to  distil  them  when  they 
were  dry,  and  they  had  no  other  room  that  so  con- 
veniently received  the  rising  sun. 

"  The  scent  of  the  plants  hindered  me  from  rest, 
and  therefore  I  rose  early  in  the  morning  with  a 
resolution  to  explore  my  new  habitation.  I  stole,  un- 
perceived,  by  my  busy  cousins  into  the  garden,  where 
I  found  nothing  either  more  great  or  elegant,  than 
in  the  same  number  of  acres  cultivated  for  the 
market.  Of  the  gardener,  I  soon  learned  that  his 
lady  was  the  greatest  manager  in  that  part  of  the 
country,  and  that  I  was  come  hither  at  the  time  in 
which  I  might  learn  to  make  more  pickles  and  con- 
serves, than  could  be  seen  at  any  other  house  a  hun- 
dred miles  round. 

"  It  was  not  long  before  her  ladyship  gave  me 
sufficient  opportunities  of  knowing  her  character, 
for  she  was  too  much  pleased  with  her  own  accom- 
plishments to  conceal  them,  and  took  occasion,  from 
some  sweetmeats  which  she  set  next  day  upon  the 
table,  to  discourse  for  two  long  hours  upon  robs  and 
jellies  ;  laid  down  the  best  methods  of  conserving, 
reserving,  and  preserving  all  sorts  of  fruit ;  told  us 
with  great  contempt  of  the  London  lady  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood, by  whom  these  terras  were  very  often 
confounded ;  and  hinted  how  much  she  should  be 
ashamed  to  set  before  company,  at  her  own  house, 
sweetmeats,  of  so  dark  a  colour  as  she  had  often 
seen  at  mistress  Sprightiy's. 

"  It  is,  indeed,  the  great  business  of  her  life,  to 
watch  the  skillet  on  the  fire,  to  see  it  simmer  with 
the  due  degree  of  heat,  and  to  snatch  it  off"  at  the 
moment  of  projection ;  and  the  employments  to 
which  she  has  bred  her  daughters,  are  to  turn  rose- 
leaves  in  the  shade,  to  pick  out  the  seeds  of  currants 

360  RAMBLER.  NO.    51. 

with  a  quill,  to  gather  fruit  without  bruising  it,  and 
to  extract  bean-flower  water  for  the  skin.  Such  are 
the  tasks  with  which  every  day,  since  I  came  hither, 
has  begun  and  ended,  to  which  the  early  hours  of 
life  are  sacrificed,  and  in  which  that  time  is  passing 
away  which  never  shall  return. 

"  But  to  reason  or  expostulate  are  hopeless  at- 
tempts. The  lady  has  settled  her  opinions,  and 
maintains  the  dignity  of  her  own  performances  with 
all  the  firmness  of  stupidity  accustomed  to  be  flat- 
tered. Her  daughters  having  never  seen  any  house 
but  their  own,  believe  their  mother's  excellence  on 
her  own  word.  Her  husband  is  a  mere  sportsman, 
who  is  pleased  to  see  his  table  well  furnished,  and 
thinks  the  day  sufficiently  successful,  in  which  he 
brings  home  a  leash  of  hares  to  be  potted  by  his 

"  After  a  few  days  I  pretended  to  want  books, 
but  my  lady  soon  told  me  that  none  of  her  books 
would  suit  my  taste  ;  for  her  part,  she  never  loved  to 
see  young  women  give  their  minds  to  such  follies, 
by  which  they  would  only  learn  to  use  hard  words ; 
she  bred  up  her  daughters  to  understand  a  house, 
and  whoever  should  marry  them,  if  they  knew  any 
thing  of  good  cookery,  would  never  repent  it. 

"  There  are,  however,  some  things  in  the  culinary 
science  too  sublime  for  youthful  intellects,  mysteries 
into  which  they  must  not  be  initiated  till  the  years 
of  serious  maturity,  and  which  are  referred  to  the 
day  of  marriage,  as  the  supreme  qualification  for 
connubial  life.  She  makes  an  orange  pudding,  which 
is  the  envy  of  all  the  neighbourhood,  and  which  she 
has  hitherto  found  means  of  mixing  and  baking  with 
such  secrecy,  that  the  ingredient  to  which  it  owes 
its  flavour  has  never  been  discovered.  She,  indeed, 
conducts  this  great  affair  with  all  the  caution  that 

NO.    51.  RAMBLER.  361 

human  policy  can  suggest.  It  is  never  known  be- 
forehand when  this  pudding  will  be  produced ;  she 
takes  the  ingredients  privately  into  her  own  closet, 
employs  her  maids  and  daughters  in  different  parts 
of  the  house,  orders  the  oven  to  be  heated  for  a  pie, 
and  places  the  pudding  in  it  with  her  own  hands  : 
the  mouth  of  the  oven  is  then  stopped,  and  all  in- 
quiries are  vain. 

"  The  composition  of  the  pudding  she  has,  how- 
ever, promised  Clarinda,  that  if  she  pleases  her  in 
marriage,  she  shall  be  told  without  reserve.  But 
the  art  of  makmg  English  capers  she  has  not  yet 
persuaded  herself  to  discover,  but  seems  resolved 
that  secret  shall  perish  with  her,  as  some  alchemists 
have  obstmately  suppressed  the  art  of  transmuting 

"  I  once  ventured  to  lay  my  fingers  on  her  book 
of  receipts,  which  she  left  upon  the  table,  having 
intelligence  that  a  vessel  of  gooseberry  wine  had 
burst  the  hoops.  But  though  the  importance  of 
the  event  sufficiently  engrossed  her  care,  to  prevent 
any  recollection  of  the  danger  to  which  her  secrets 
were  exposed,  I  was  not  able  to  make  use  of  the 
golden  moments ;  for  this  treasure  of  hereditary 
knowledge  was  so  well  concealed  by  the  manner  of 
spelling  used  by  her  grandmother,  her  mother,  and 
herself,  that  I  was  totally  unable  to  understand  it, 
and  lost  the  opportunity  of  consulting  the  oracle,  for 
want  of  knowinsc  the  language  in  which  its  answers 
were  returned. 

"  It  is,  indeed,  necessary,  if  I  have  any  regard  to 
her  ladyship's  esteem,  that  I  should  apply  myself  to 
some  of  these  economical  accomplishments ;  for  I 
overheard  her,  two  days  ago,  warning  her  daughters, 
by  my  mournful  example,  against  negligence  of 
pastry,  and  ignorance  in  carving  ;  '  for  you  saw,'  said 

362  KAMBLER.  NO.    51. 

she,  '  that,  with  all  her  pretensions  to  knowledge, 
she  turned  the  partridge  the  wrong  way  when  she 
attempted  to  cut  it,  and,  I  believe,  scarcely  knows 
the  difference  between  paste  raised,  and  paste  in  a 

"  The  reason,  Mr.  Rambler,  why  I  have  laid  Lady 
Bustle's  character  before  you,  is  a  desire  to  be  in- 
formed whether,  in  your  opinion,  it  is  worthy  of  imita- 
tion, and  whether  I  shall  throw  away  the  books  which 
I  have  hitherto  thought  it  my  duty  to  read,  for  The 
Lady's  Closet  Opened,  The  Complete  Servant-maid, 
and  The  Court  Cook,  and  resign  all  curiosity  after 
right  and  wrong,  for  the  art  of  scalding  damascenes 
without  bursting  them,  and  preserving  the  whiteness 
of  pickled  mushrooms. 

"  Lady  Bustle  has,  indeed,  by  this  incessant  ap- 
plication to  fruits  and  flowers,  contracted  her  cares 
into  a  narrow  space,  and  set  herself  free  from  many 
perplexities  with  which  other  minds  are  disturbed. 
She  has  no  curiosity  after  the  events  of  a  war,  or 
the  fate  of  heroes  in  distress  ;  she  can  hear  without 
the  least  emotion,  the  ravage  of  a  fire,  or  devasta- 
tions of  a  storm  ;  her  neighbours  grow  rich  or  poor, 
come  into  the  world  or  go  out  of  it,  without  regard, 
while  she  is  pressing  the  jelly-bag,  or  airing  the 
storeroom  ;  but  I  cannot  perceive  that  she  is  more 
free  from  disquiets  than  those  whose  understand- 
ings take  a  wider  range.  Her  marigolds,  when  they 
are  almost  cured,  are  often  scattered  by  the  wind, 
the  rain  sometimes  falls  upon  fruit  when  it  ought  to 
be  gathered  dry.  While  her  artificial  wines  are 
fermenting,  her  whole  life  is  restlessness  and  anx- 
iety. Her  sweetmeats  are  not  always  bright,  and 
the  maid  sometimes  forgets  the  just  proportions  of 
salt  and  pepper,  when  venison  is  to  be  baked.  Her 
conserves  mould,  her  wines  sour,  and  pickles  mother ; 

NO.    52.  RAMBLER.  363 

and,  like  all  the  rest  of  mankind,  she  is  every  day 
mortified  with  the  defeat  of  her  schemes  and  the 
disappointment  of  her  hopes. 

"  AVith  regard  to  vice  and  virtue,  she  seems  a 
kind  of  neutral  being.  She  has  no  crime  but  luxury, 
nor  any  virtue  but  chastity ;  she  has  no  desire  to  be 
praised  but  for  her  cookery ;  nor  wishes  any  ill  to 
the  rest  of  mankind,  but  that  whenever  they  aspire 
to  a  feast,  their  custards  may  be  wheyish,  and  their 
pie-crusts  tough. 

"  I  am  now  very  impatient  to  know  whether  I  am 
to  look  on  these  ladies  as  the  great  patterns  of  our 
sex,  and  to  consider  conserves  and  pickles  as  the 
business  of  my  life  ;  whether  the  censures  which  I 
now  suffer  be  just,  and  whether  the  brewers  of 
wines,  and  the  distillers  of  washes,  have  a  right  to 
look  with  insolence  on  the  w^eakness  of 

"  Cornelia." 

No.  52.     SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER  15,  1750. 

—  Quoties  flenti  Theseiiis  heros 

Siste  modum,  dixit ;  neque  enim  fortuna  querenda 

Sola  tua  est ;  similes  alior'um  respice  casuSj 

Mitius  ista  feres. —  oviD.  met.  xv.  492. 

How  oft  in  vain  the  son  of  Theseus  said, 
The  stormy  sorrows  be  with  patience  laid; 
Nor  are  thy  fortunes  to  be  wept  alone ; 
Weigh  others'  woes,  and  learn  to  bear  thy  own. 


Among  the  various  methods  of  consolation,  to 
which  the  miseries  inseparable  from  our  present 

364:  RAMBLER.  NO.    52- 

state  have  given  occasion,  it  has  been,  as  I  have 
already  remarked,  recommended  by  some  writers  to 
put  the  suJBferer  in  mind  of  heavier  pressures,  and 
more  excruciating  calamities,  than  those  of  which 
he  has  himself  reason  to  complain. 

This  has,  in  all  ages,  been  directed  and  practised ; 
and,  in  conformity  to  this  custom,  Lipsius,  the  great 
modern  master  of  the  stoic  philosophy,  has,  in  his 
celebrated  treatise  on  steadiness  of  mind,  endeav- 
oured to  fortify  the  breast  against  too  much  sensi- 
bility of  misfortune,  by  enumerating  the  evils  which 
have  in  former  ages  fallen  upon  the  world,  the 
devastation  of  wide-extended  regions,  the  sack  of 
cities,  and  massacre  of  nations.  And  the  common 
voice  of  the  multitude,  uninstructed  by  precept,  and 
unprejudiced  by  authority,  which,  in  questions  that 
relate  to  the  heart  of  man,  is,  in  my  opinion,  more 
decisive  than  the  learning  of  Lipsius,  seems  to  justify 
the  efficacy  of  this  procedure  ;  for  one  of  the  first 
comforts  which  one  neighbour  administers  to  an- 
other, is  a  relation  of  the  like  infelicity,  combined 
with  circumstances  of  greater  bitterness. 

But  this  medicine  of  the  mind  is  like  many  reme- 
dies applied  to  the  body,  of  which,  though  we  see 
the  effects,  we  are  unacquainted  with  the  manner  of 
operation,  and  of  which,  therefore,  some,  who  are 
unwilling  to  suppose  any  thing  out  of  the  reach  of 
their  own  sagacity,  have  been  inclined  to  doubt 
whether  they  have  really  those  virtues  for  which 
they  are  celebrated,  and  whether  their  reputation 
is  not  the  mere  gift  of  fancy,  prejudice,  and  cre- 

Consolation,  or  comfort,  are  words  which,  in  their 
proper  acceptation,  signify  some  alleviation  of  that 
pain  to  which  it  is  not  in  our  power  to  afford  the 
proper  and  adequate  remedy ;  they  imply  rather  an 

NO.    52.  RAMBLER.  365 

augmentation  of  the  power  of  bearing,  than  a  dimi- 
nution of  the  burden.  A  prisoner  is  reUeved  by 
him  that  sets  him  at  liberty,  but  receives  comfort 
from  such  as  suggest  considerations  by  which  he  is 
made  patient  under  the  inconvenience  of  confine- 
ment. To  that  grief  which  arises  from  a  great  loss, 
he  only  brings  the  true  remedy,  who  makes  his 
friend's  condition  the  same  as  before ;  but  he  may 
be  properly  termed  a  comforter,  who,  by  persua- 
sion, extenuates  the  pain  of  poverty,  and  shows,  in 
the  style  of  Hesiod,  that  half  is  more  than  the 

It  is,  perhaps,  not  immediately  obvious,  how  it 
can  lull  the  memory  of  misfortune,  or  appease  the 
throbbings  of  anguish,  to  hear  that  others  are  more 
miserable ;  others,  perhaps,  unknown  or  wholly 
indiflferent,  whose  prosperity  raises  no  envy,  and 
whose  fall  can  gratify  no  resentment.  Some  topics 
of  comfort  arising,  like  that  which  gave  hope  and 
spirit  to  the  captive  of  Sesostris,  from  the  perpetual 
vicissitudes  of  life,  and  mutability  of  human  affairs, 
may  as  properly  raise  the  dejected,  as  depress  the 
proud,  and  have  an  immediate  tendency  to  exhil- 
arate and  revive.  But  how  can  it  avail  the  man 
who  languishes  in  the  gloom  of  sorrow,  without  pros- 
pect of  emerging  into  the  sunshine  of  cheerfulness, 
to  hear  that  others  are  sunk  yet  deeper  in  the  dun- 
geon of  misery,  shackled  with  heavier  chains,  and 
surrounded  with  darker  desperation  ? 

The  solace  arising  from  this  consideration  seems, 
indeed,  the  weakest  of  all  others,  and  is,  perhaps, 
never  properly  applied,  but  in  cases  where  there  is 
no  place  for  reflections  of  more  speedy  and  pleasing 
efficacy.  But  even  from  such  calamities  life  is  by 
no  means  free ;  a  thousand  ills  incurable,  a  thousand 
losses  iiTcparable,  a  thousand  diificulties  insurmount- 

366  RAMBLER.  NO.    52. 

able,  are  known,  or  will  be  known,  by  all  the  sons 
of  men.  Native  deformity  cannot  be  rectified,  a 
dead  friend  cannot  return,  and  the  hours  of  youth 
trifled  away  in  folly,  or  lost  in  sickness,  cannot  be 

Under  the  oppression  of  such  melancholy,  it  has 
been  found  useful  to  take  a  survey  of  the  world,  to 
contemplate  the  various  scenes  of  distress  in  which 
mankind  are  struggling  round  us,  and  acquaint  bur- 
selves  with  the  terrihiles  visu  formcB^  the  various 
shapes  of  misery,  which  make  havoc  of  terrestrial 
happiness,  range  all  corners  almost  without  restraint, 
trample  down  our  hopes  at  the  hour  of  harvest,  and, 
when  we  have  built  our  schemes  to  the  top,  ruin 
their  foundations. 

The  first  effect  of  this  meditation  is,  that  it  fur- 
nishes a  new  employment  for  the  mind,  and  engages 
the  passions  on  remoter  objects  ;  as  kings  have  some- 
times freed  themselves  from  a  subject  too  haughty 
to  be  governed,  and  too  powerful  to  be  crushed,  by 
posting  him  in  a  distant  province,  till  his  popularity 
has  subsided,  or  his  pride  been  repressed.  The 
attention  is  dissipated  by  variety,  and  acts  more 
weakly  upon  any  single  part,  as  that  torrent  may  be 
drawn  off  to  different  channels,  which,  pouring  down 
in  one  collected  body,  cannot  be  resisted.  This 
species  of  comfort  is,  therefore,  unavailing  in  severe 
paroxysms  of  corporal  pain,  when  the  mind  is  every 
instant  called  back  to  misery,  and  in  the  first  shock 
of  any  sudden  evil ;  but  will  certainly  be  of  use 
against  encroaching  melancholy,  and  a  settled  habit 
of  gloomy  thoughts. 

It  is  further  advantageous,  as  it  supplies  us  with 
opportunities  of  making  comparisons  in  our  own 
favour.  We  know  that  very  little  of  the  pain,  or 
pleasure,   which   does  not   begin    and    end   in    our 

NO.    52.  RAMBLER.  367 

senses,  is  otherwise  than  relative  ;  we  are  rich  or 
poor,  great  or  little,  in  proportion  to  the  number  that 
excel  us,  or  fall  beneath  us,  in  any  of  these  respects  ; 
and,  therefore,  a  man,  whose  uneasiness  arises  from 
reflection  or  any  misfortune  that  throws  him  below 
those  with  whom  he  was  once  equal,  is  comforted  by 
finding  that  he  is  not  yet  lowest. 

There  is  another  kind  of  comparison,  less  tending 
towards  the  vice  of  envy,  very  well  illustrated  by  an 
old  poet,  whose  system  will  not  afford  many  reason- 
able motives  to  content.  '  It  is,'  says  he,  '  pleasing 
to  look  from  shore  upon  the  tumults  of  a  storm,  and 
to, see  a  ship  struggling  with  the  billows  ;  it  is  pleas- 
ing, not  because  the  pain  of  another  can  give  us  de- 
light, but  because  we  have  a  stronger  impression 
of  the  happiness  of  safety.'  Thus,  when  we  look 
abroad,  and  behold  the  multitudes  that  are  groaning 
under  evils  heavier  than  those  which  we  have  ex- 
perienced, we  shrink  back  to  our  own  state,  and, 
instead  of  repining  that  so  much  must  be  felt,  learn 
to  rejoice  that  we  have  not  more  to  feel. 

By  this  observation  of  the  miseries  of  others, 
fortitude  is  strengthened,  and  the  mind  brought  to  a 
more  extensive  knowledge  of  her  own  powers.  As 
the  heroes  of  action  catch  the  flame  from  one  an- 
other, so  they  to  whom  Providence  has  allotted  the 
harder  task  of  suffering  with  calmness  and  dignity, 
may  animate  themselves  by  the  remembrance  of 
those, evils  which  have  been  laid  on  others,  perhaps 
naturally  as  weak  as  themselves,  and  bear  up  with 
vigour  and  resolution  against  their  own  oppressions, 
when  they  see  it  possible  that  more  severe  afflictions 
may  be  borne. 

There  is  still  another  reason  why,  to  many  minds, 
the  relation  of  other  men's  infelicity  may  give  a 
lasting  and  continual  relief.      Some,   not  well  in- 

368  RAMBLER.  NO.   53. 

structed  in  the  measures  by  which  Providence  dis- 
tributes happiness,  are,  perhaps,  misled  by  divines, 
who,  as  Bellarmine,  malies  temporal  prosperity  one 
of  the  characters  of  the  true  church,  have  repre- 
sented wealth  and  ease  as  the  certain  concomitants 
of  virtue,  and  the  unfailing  result  of  the  divine  ap- 
probation. Such  sufferers  are  dejected  in  their 
misfortunes,  not  so  much  for  what  they  feel,  as  for 
what  they  dread ;  not  because  they  cannot  support 
the  sorrows,  or  endure  the  wants,  of  their  present 
condition,  but.  because  they  consider  them  as  only 
the  beginnings  of  more  sharp  and  more  lasting 
pains.  To  these  mourners  it  is  an  act  of  the  highest 
charity  to  represent  the  calamities  which  not  only 
virtue  has  suffered,  but  virtue  has  incurred ;  to  in- 
form them  that  one  evidence  of  a  future  state  is  the 
uncertainty  of  any  present  reward  for  goodness  ;  and 
to  remind  them,  from  the  highest  authority,  of  the 
distresses  and  penury  of  men  '  of  whom  the  world 
was  not  worthy.' 

No.  53.     TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER  18,  1750. 

^eideo  tuv  Kredvuv.  epigram,  vet. 

Husband  thy  possessions. 

There  is  scarcely  among  the  evils  of  human  life, 
any  so  generally  dreaded  as  poverty.  Every  other 
species  of  misery,  those  who   are   not  much  accus- 

NO.    53.  RAMBLER.  369 

tomed  to  disturb  the  present  moment  with  reflection, 
can  easily  forget,  because  it  is  not  always  forced 
upon  their  regard ;  but  it  is  impossible  to  pass  a  day 
or  an  hour  in  the  confluxes  of  men,  without  seeing 
how  much  indigence  is  exposed  to  contumely, 
neglect,  and  insult;  and,  in  its  lowest  state,  to 
hunger  and  nakedness ;  to  injuries  against  which 
every  passion  is  in  arms,  and  to  wants  which  nature 
cannot  sustain. 

Against  other  evils  the  heart  is  often  hardened  by 
true  or  by  false  notions  of  dignity  and  reputation : 
thus  we  see  dangers  of  every  kind  faced  with  wil- 
lingness, because  bravery,  in  a  good  or  bad  cause,  is 
never  without  its  encomiasts  and  admirers.  But  in 
the  prospect  of  poverty,  there  is  nothing  but  gloom 
and  melancholy ;  the  mind  and  body  suffer  together ; 
its  miseries  bring  no  alleviations ;  it  is  a  state  in 
which  every  virtue  is  obscured,  and  in  which  no 
conduct  can  avoid  reproach ;  a  state  in  which  cheer- 
fulness is  insensibility,  and  dejection  sullenness ;  of 
which  the  hardships  are  without  honour,  and  the 
labours  without  reward. 

Of  these  calamities  there  seems  not  to  be  wanting 
a  general  conviction ;  we  hear  on  every  side  the 
noise  of  trade,  and  see  the  streets  thronged  with 
numberless  multitudes,  whose  faces  are  clouded  with 
anxiety,  and  whose  steps  are  hurried  by  precipita- 
tion, from  no  other  motive  than  the  hope  of  gain  ; 
and  the  whole  world  is  put  in  motion,  by  the  desire 
of  that  wealth,  which  is  chiefly  to  be  valued,  as  it 
secures  us  from  poverty ;  for  it  is  more  useful  for 
defence  than  acquisition,  and  is  not  so  much  able  to 
procure  good  as  to  exclude  evil. 

Yet  there  are  always  some  whose  passions  or 
follies  lead  them  to  a  conduct  opposite  to  the  general 
maxims  and  practice  of  mankind ;  some  who  seem 

VOL.    XVI.  24 

370  RAMBLER.  NO.    53. 

to  rush  upon  poverty,  with  the  same  eagerness  with 
which  others  avoid  it ;  who  see  their  revenues  hourly 
lessened,  and  the  estates  which  they  inherit  from 
their  ancestors  mouldering  away,  without  resolution 
to  change  their  course  of  life;  who  persevere 
against  all  remonstrances,  and  go  forward  with 
full  career,  though  they  see  before  them  the  preci- 
pice of  destruction. 

It  is  not  my  purpose,  in  this  paper,  to  expostulate 
with  such  as  ruin  their  fortunes  by  expensive 
schemes  of  buildings  and  gardens,  which  they  carry 
on  with  the  same  vanity  that  prompted  them  to 
begin  choosing,  as  it  happens  in  a  thousand  other 
cases,  the  remote  evil  before  the  lighter,  and  de- 
ferring the  shame  of  repentance  till  they  incur  the 
miseries  of  distress.  Those  for  whom  I  intend  ray 
present  admonitions,  are  the  thoughtless,  the  negli- 
gent, and  the  dissolute  ;  who  having  by  the  vicious- 
ness  of  their  own  inclinations,  or  the  seducements 
of  alluring  companions,  been  engaged  in  habits  of 
expense,  and  accustomed  to  move  in  a  certain  round 
of  pleasures  disproportioned  to  their  condition,  are 
without  power  to  extricate  themselves  from  the 
enchantments  of  custom,  avoid  thought  because  they 
know  it  will  be  painful,  and  continue  from  day  to 
day,  and  from  month  to  month,  to  anticipate  their 
revenues,  and  sink  every  hour  deeper  into  the  gulfs 
of  usury  and  extortion. 

This  folly  has  less  claim  to  pity,  because  it  cannot 
be  imputed  to  the  vehemence  of  sudden  passion ; 
nor  can  the  mischief  which  it  produces  be  extenuated 
as  the  effect  of  any  single  act,  which  rage,  or  desire, 
might  execute  before  there  could  be  time  for  an  ap- 
peal to  reason.  These  men  are  advancing  towards 
misery  by  soft  approaches,  and  destroying  them- 
selves, not  by  the  violence  of  a  blow,  which,  when 

NO.    53.  RAMBLER.  371 

once  given,  can  never  be  recalled,  but  by  a  slow 
poison,  hourly  repeated,  and  obstinately  continued. 

This  conduct  is  so  absurd  when  it  is  examined  by 
the  unprejudiced  eye  of  rational  judgment,  that 
nothing  but  experience  could  evince  its  possibility ; 
yet,  absurd  as  it  is,  the  sudden  fall  of  some  families, 
and  the  sudden  rise  of  others,  prove  it  to  be  com- 
mon ;  and  every  year  sees  many  wretches  reduced 
to  contempt  and  want,  by  their  costly  sacrifices  to 
pleasure  and  vanity. 

It  is  the  fate  of  almost  every  passion,  when  it  has 
passed  the  bounds  which  nature  prescribes,  to  coun- 
teract its  own  purpose.  Too  much  rage  hinders  the 
warrior  from  circumspection,  too  much  eagerness 
of  profit  hurts  the  credit  of  the  trader,  too  much 
ardour  takes  away  from  the  lover  that  easiness  of 
address,  with  w^hich  ladies  are  delighted.  Thus  ex- 
travagance, though  dictated  by  vanity  and  incited 
by  voluptuousness,  seldom  procures  ultimately  either 
applause  or  pleasure. 

If  praise  be  justly  estimated  by  the  character  of 
those  from  whom  it  is  received,  little  satisfaction 
will  be  given  to  the  spendthrift  by  the  encomiums 
which  he  purchases.  For  who  are  they  that  ani- 
mate him  in  his  pursuits,  but  young  men,  thought- 
less and  abandoned  like  himself,  unacquainted  with 
all  on  which  the  wisdom  of  nations  has  impressed 
the  stamp  of  excellence,  and  devoid  alike  of  knowl- 
edge and  of  virtue  ?  By  whom  is  his  profusion 
praised,  but  by  wretches  who  consider  him  as  sub- 
servient to  their  purposes,  su'ens  that  entice  him  to 
shipwreck,  and  cyclops  that  are  gaping  to  devour 

Every  man  whose  knowledge,  or  whose  virtue, 
can  give  value  to  his  opinion,  looks  with  scorn,  or 
pity,  neither  of  which  can  afford  much  gratification 

372  RAMBLER.  NO.    53. 

to  pride,  on  him  whom  the  panders  of  luxury  have 
drawn  into  the  circle  of  their  influence,  and  whom 
he  sees  parcelled  out  among  the  different  mmisters 
of  folly,  and  about  to  be  torn  to  pieces  by  tailors 
and  jockeys,  vintners  and  attorneys,  who  at  once  rob 
and  ridicule  him,  and  who  are  secretly  triumphmg 
over  his  weakness,  when  they  present  new  mcite- 
ments  to  his  appetite,  and  heighten  his  desires  by 
counterfeited  applause. 

Such  is  the  praise  that  is  purchased  by  prodi- 
gality.    Even  when  it  is  yet  not  discovered  to  be 
false,  it  is  the  praise  only  of  those  whom  it  is  re- 
proachful to  please,  and  whose  sincerity  is  corrupted 
by  their  interest:  men  who  live  by  the  riots  which 
they  encourage,  and  who  know  that  whenever  their 
pupil  grows  wise,  they  shall  lose  their  power.     Yet 
with  such  flatteries,  if  they  could  last,  might  the 
cravings  of  vanity,  which  is  seldom  very  delicate, 
be  satisfied;  but  the  time  is  always  hastening  for- 
ward when  this  triumph,  poor  as  it  is,  shall   vanish, 
and  when  those  who  now  surround  him  with  obse- 
quiousness and  comphments,  fawn  among  his  equi- 
page, and  animate  his  riots,  shall  turn  upon  him 
with  insolence,  and  reproach   him  with  the  vices 
promoted  by  themselves. 

And  as  little  pretensions  has  the  man,  who  squan- 
ders his  estate,  by  vain  or  vicious  expenses,  to  greater 
degrees  of  pleasure  than  are  obtained  by  others,  io 
make  any  happiness  sincere,  it  is  necessary  that  we 
beUeve  it  to  be  lasting ;  since  whatever  we  suppose 
ourselves  in  danger  of  losing,  must  be  enjoyed  with 
solicitude  and  uneasiness,  and  the  more  value  we  set 
upon  it,  the  more  must  the  present  possession  be 
imbittered.  How  can  he,  then,  be  envied  for  his  fe- 
licity, who  knows  that  its  continuance  cannot  be  ex- 
pected, and  who  is  conscious  that  a  very  short  time 

NO.    53.  RAMBLER.  373 

will  give  him  up  to  the  gripe  of  poverty,  which  will 
be  harder  to  be  borne,  as  he  has  given  way  to  more 
excesses,  wantoned  in  greater  abundance,  and  in- 
dulged his  appetites  with  more  profuseness  ? 

It  appears  evident  that  frugality  is  necessary  even 
to  complete  the  pleasure  of  expense  ;  for  it  may  be 
generally  remarked  of  those  who  squander  what 
they  know  their  fortune  not  sufficient  to  allow,  that 
in  their  most  jovial  expense,  there  always  breaks 
out  some  proof  of  discontent  and  impatience  ;  they 
either  scatter  with  a  kind  of  wild  desperation  and 
affected  lavishness,  as  criminals  brave  the  gallows 
when  they  cannot  escape  it,  or  pay  their  money  with 
a  peevish  anxiety,  and  endeavour  at  once  to  spend 
idly,  and  to  save  meanly  ;  having  neither  firmness  to 
deny  their  passions,  nor  courage  to  gratify  them,  they 
murmur  at  their  own  enjoyments,  and  poison  the 
bowl  of  pleasure  by  reflection  on  the  cost. 

Among  these  men  there  is  often  the  vociferation 
of  merriment,  but  very  seldom  the  tranquillity  of 
cheerfulness ;  they  inflame  their  imaginations  to  a 
kind  of  momentary  jollity,  by  the  help  of  wine  and 
riot,  and  consider  it  as  the  first  business  of  the  night 
to  stupefy  recollection,  and  lay  that  reason  asleep 
which  disturbs  their  gayety,  and  calls  upon  them  to 
retreat  from  ruin. 

But  this  poor  broken  satisfaction  is  of  short  con- 
tinuance, and  must  be  expiated  by  a  long  series  of 
misery  and  regret.  In  a  short  time  the  creditor 
grows  impatient,  the  last  acre  is  sold,  the  passions 
and  appetites  still  continue  theii'  tyranny,  with  in- 
cessant calls  for  their  usual  gratifications,  and  the 
remainder  of  life  passes  away  in  vain  repentance  or 
impotent  desii-e. 

374  RAMBLER.  NO.    54. 

No.  54.     SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER  22,1750. 

Truditur  dies  die, 

Novceque  lyergunt  interire  lunm 
Tu  secanda  mavmora  . 

Locas  sub  ipsumfunus,  et  sepulchn 
Immenwr  struts  domos.  hok.  cak.  u.  lo.  1&. 

Day  presses  on  the  heels  of  day, 

And  moons  increase  to  their  decay; 

But  you,  with  thoughtless  pride  elate, 

Unconscious  of  impending  fate,  _ 

Command  the  pillar' d  dome  to  rise, 

When,  lo !  thy  tomb  forgotten  lies.         francis. 

"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 
"  SIR, 

"  I  HAVE  lately  been  called,  from  a  mingled  life 
of  business  and  amusement,  to  attend  the  last  hours 
of  an  old  friend  ;  an  office  which  has  filled  me,  if  not 
with  melancholy,  at  least  with  serious  reflections, 
and  turned  my  thoughts  towards  the  contemplation 
of  those  subjects,  which,  though  of  the  utmost  im- 
portance, and  of  indubitable  certainty,  are  generally 
secluded  from  our  regard,  by  the  jollity  of  health, 
the  hurry  of  employment,  and  even  by  the  calmer 
diversions  of  study  and  speculation ;  or,  if  they  be- 
come accidental  topics  of  conversation  and  argument, 
yet  rarely  sink  deep  into  the  heart,  but  give  occa- 
sion only  to  some  subtilties  of  reasoning,  or  ele- 
o-ances  of  declamation,  which  are  heard,  applauded, 


and  forgotten.  , 

"It  is,  indeed,  not  hard  to   conceive  how  a  man 
accustomed  to   extend  his  views   through   a   long 

NO.   54. 

RAMBLER.  375 

concatenation  of  causes  and  effects,  to  trace  things 
from  their  origin  to  their  period,  and  compare  means 
with  ends,  may  discover  the  weakness  of  human 
schemes  ;  detect  the  fallacies  by  which  mortals  are 
deluded  ;  show  the  insufficiency  of  w^ealth,  honours, 
and  power,  to  real  happiness ;  and  please  himself, 
and  his  auditors,  with  learned  lectures  on  the  vanity 

of  life. 

"  But  though  the  speculatist  may  see  and  show 
the  folly  of  terrestrial  hopes,  fears,  and  desires,  every 
hour  will  give  proofs  that  he  never  felt  it.  Trace 
him  through  the  day  or  year,  and  you  will  find  him 
acting  upon  principles  which  he  has  in  common  with 
the  iUiterate  and  unenlightened ;  angry  and  pleased 
like  the  lowest  of  the  vulgar ;  pursuing  with  the 
same  ardour,  the  same  designs ;  grasping,  with  all 
the  eagerness  of  transport,  those  riches  which  he 
knows  °he  cannot  keep,  and.  swelling  with  the  ap- 
plause which  he  has  gained  by  proving  that  applause 
is  of  no  value. 

"  The  only  conviction  that  rushes  upon  the  soul, 
and  takes  away  from  our  appetites  and  passions  the 
power  of  resistance,  is  to  be  found,  where  I  have 
received  it,  at  the  bed  of  a  dying  friend.  To  enter 
this  school  of  wisdom  is  not  the  pecuhar  privilege 
of  geometricians ;  the  most  sublime  and  important 
precepts  require  no  uncommon  opportunities,  nor 
laborious  preparations  ;  they  are  enforced  without 
the  aid  of  eloquence,  and  understood  without  skill 
in  analytic  science.  Every  tongue  can  utter  them, 
and  every  understanding  can  conceive  them.  He 
that  wishes  in  earnest  to  obtain  just  sentiments  con- 
cerning his  condition,  and  would  be  intimately  ac- 
quainted with  the  world,  may  find  instructions  on 
every  side.  He  that  desires  to  enter  behind  the 
scene,  which  every  art  has  been  employed  to  deco- 

376  RAMBLER.  NO.    54. 

rate,  and  every  passion  labours  to  illuminate,  and 
wishes  to  see  life  stripped  of  those  ornaments  which 
make  it  glitter  on  the  stage,  and  exposed  in  its  nat- 
ural meanness,  impotence,  and  nakedness,  may  find 
all  the  delusion  laid  open  in  the  chamber  of  disease  : 
he  will  there  find  vanity  divested  of  her  robes,  power 
deprived  of  her  sceptre,  and  hypocrisy  without  her 

"  The  friend  whom  I  have  lost  was  a  man  emi- 
nent for  genius,  and,  like  others  of  the  same  class, 
sufficiently  pleased  with  acceptance  and  applause. 
Being  caressed  by  those  who  have  preferments  and 
riches  in  their  disposal,  he  considered  himself  as  in 
the  direct  road  of  advancement,  and  had  caught  the 
flame  of  ambition  by  approaches  to  its  object.  But 
in  the  midst  of  his  hopes,  his  projects,  and  his  gaye- 
ties,  he  was  seized  by  a  lingering  disease,  which, 
from  its  first  stage,  he  knew  to  be  incurable.  Here 
was  an  end  of  all  his  visions  of  greatness  and  happi- 
ness ;  from  the  first  hour  that  his  health  declined, 
all  his  former  pleasures  grew  tasteless.  His  friends 
expected  to  please  him  by  those  accounts  of  the 
growth  of  his  reputation,  which  were  formerly  cer- 
tain of  being  well  received ;  but  they  soon  found 
how  little  he  was  now  affected  by  compliments, 
and  how  vainly  they  attempted,  by  flattery,  to  exhil- 
arate the  languor  of  weakness,  and  relieve  the 
solicitude  of  approaching  death.  Whoever  would 
know  how  much  piety  and  virtue  surpass  all  external 
goods,  might  here  have  seen  them  weighed  against 
each  other,  where  all  that  gives  motion  to  the  active, 
and  elevation  to  the  eminent,  all  that  sparkles  in  the 
eye  of  hope,  and  pants  in  the  bosom  of  suspicion,  at 
once  became  dust  in  the  balance,  without  weight 
and  without  regard.  Riches,  authority,  and  praise, 
lose  all  their  influence  when  they  are  considered 

NO.    54.  RAMBLER.  377 

as  riches  which  to-morrow  shall  be  bestowed  upon 
another,  authority  which  shall  this  night  expire 
forever,  and  praise  which,  however  merited,  or  how- 
ever sincere,  shall,  after  a  few  moments,  be  heard 
no  more. 

"  In  those  hours  of  seriousness  and  wisdom,  noth- 
ing appeared  to  raise  his  spirits,  or  gladden  his  heart, 
but  the  recollection  of  acts  of  goodness  ;  nor  to  excite 
his  attention,  but  some  opportunity  for  the  exercise 
of  the  duties  of  religion.  Every  thing  that  termi- 
nated on  this  side  of  the  grave  was  received  with 
coldness  and  indifference,  and  regarded  rather  in 
consequence  of  the  habit  of  valuing  it,  than  from 
any  opinion  that  it  deserved  value ;  it  had  little 
more  prevalence  over  his  mind  than  a  bubble  that 
was  now  broken,  a  dream  from  which  he  was 
awake.  His  whole  powers  were  engrossed  by  the 
consideration  of  another  state  ;  and  all  conversation 
was  tedious  that  had  not  some  tendency  to  disen- 
gage him  from  human  affairs,  and  open  his  prospects 
into  futurity. 

"  It  is  now  past,  we  have  closed  his  eyes,  and 
heard  him  breathe  the  groan  of  expiration.  At  the 
sight  of  his  last  conflict,  I  felt  a  sensation  never 
known  to  me  before ;  a  confusion  of  passions,  an 
awful  stillness  of  sorrow,  a  gloomy  terror  without 
a  name.  The  thoughts  that  entered  my  soul  were 
too  strong  to  be  diverted,  and  too  piercing  to  be 
endured ;  but  such  violence  cannot  be  lasting,  the 
storm  subsided  in  a  short  time ;  I  wept,  retired,  and 
grew  calm. 

"  I  have  from  that  time  frequently  revolved  in 
my  mind  the  effects  which  the  observation  of  death 
produces  in  those  who  are  not  wholly  without  the 
power  and  use  of  reflection  ;  for,  by  far  the  greater 
part,  it  is  wholly  unregarded.     Their  friends  and 

378  RAMBLER.  NO.    54. 

their  enemies  sink  into  the  grave  without  raising 
any  uncommon  emotion,  or  reminding  them  that 
they  are  themselves  on  the  edge  of  the  precipice, 
and  that  they  must  soon  plunge  into  the  gulf  of 

"  It  seems  to  me  remarkable  that  death  increases 
our  veneration  for  the  good,  and  extenuates  our 
hatred  of  the  bad.  Those  virtues  which  once  we 
envied,  as  Horace  observes,  because  they  eclipsed 
our  own,  can  now  no  longer  obstruct  our  reputation, 
and  we  have,  therefore,  no  interest  to  suppress  their 
praise.  That  wickedness  which  we  fSared  for  its 
malignity,  is  now  become  impotent;  and  the  man 
whose  name  filled  us  with  alarm,  and  rage,  and 
indignation,  can  at  last  be  considered  only  with  pity, 
or  contempt. 

"  When  a  friend  is  carried  to  the  grave,  we  at 
once  find  excuses  for  weakness,  and  palliations 
of  every  fault ;  we  recollect  a  thousand  endear- 
ments which  before  glided  off  our  minds  without 
impression,  a  thousand  favours  unrepaid,  a  thousand 
duties  unperformed;  and  wish,  vainly  wish  for  his 
return,  not  so  much  that  we  may  receive,  as  that  we 
may  bestow  happiness,  and  recompense  that  kind- 
ness which  before  we  never  understood. 

"  There  is  not,  perhaps,  to  a  mind  well  instructed, 
a  more  painful  occurrence,  than  the  death  of  one 
whom  we  have  injured  without  reparation.  Our 
crime  seems  now  irretrievable,  it  is  indelibly  re- 
corded, and  the  stamp  of  fate  is  fixed  upon  it.  We 
consider,  with  the  most  aiSictive  anguish,  the  pain 
which  we  have  given,  and  now  cannot  alleviate ;  and 
the  losses  which  we  have  caused,  and  now  cannot 

"  Of  the  same  kind  are  the  emotions  which  the 
death  of  an  emulator  or  competitor  produces.    Who- 

NO.    54.  RAMBLER.  379 

ever  had  qualities  to  alarm  our  jealousy,  had  excel- 
lence to  deserve  our  fondness ;  and  to  whatever 
ardour  of  opposition  interest  may  inflame  us,  no 
man  ever  outlived  an  enemy,  whom  he  did  not  then 
wish  to  have  made  a  friend.  Those  who  are  versed 
in  literary  history  know  that  the  elder  Scaliger  was 
the  redoubted  antagonist  of  Cardan  and  Erasmus ; 
vet  at  the  death  of  each  of  his  great  rivals  he 
relented,  and  complained  that  they  were  snatched 
away  from  him  before  their  reconciliation  was  com- 

Tu  ne  etiam  moreris  f    Ah  !  quid  me  linquis,  Erasme, 
Ante  mens  quam  sit  conciliatus  amor  ? 

Art  thou  too  fall'n? — ere  anger  could  subside,  • 
And  love  return,  has  great  Erasmus  died  ? 

"  Such  are  the  sentiments  with  which  we  finally 
review  the  effects  of  passion,  but  which  we  some- 
times delay  till  we  can  no  longer  rectify  our  errors. 
Let  us,  therefore,  make  haste  to  do  what  we  shall 
certainly  at  last  wish  to  have  done ;  let  us  return 
the  caresses  of  our  friends,  and  endeavour  by  mu- 
'tual  endearments  to  heighten  that  tenderness  which 
is  the  balm  of  life.  Let  us  be  quick  to  repent  of 
injuries,  while  repentance  may  not  be  a  barren  an- 
guish, and  let  us  open  our  eyes  to  every  rival  excel- 
lence, and  pay  early  and  willingly  those  honours 
which  justice  will  compel  us  to  pay  at  last. 

"  Athanatus." 


•RAMBLER.  nO.    65. 

No.  55.    TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER  25,  1750. 

Maturo  propior  desine  funeri 
Inter  ludere  virgines, 

Et  stellis  nebulam  spargere  candidis. 
Non  si  quid  Pholoen  satis 

Et  te,  C/dori,  decei.—  hor.  car.  iii.  15.  4. 

Now  near  to  death  that  comes  but  slow 
Now  thou  art  stepping  down  below ;       ' 
Sport  not  amongst  the  blooming  maids 
But  think  on  ghosts  and  empty  shades :' 
What  suits  with  Pholoe  in  her  bloom 
Gray  Chloris,  will  not  thee  become;  ' 
A  bed  is  diflferent  from  a  tomb. 






«I  HAVE  been  but  a  little  time  conversant  in  the 
world,  yet  I  have  already  had  frequent  opportuni- 
ties of  observing  the  little  efficacy  of  remonstrance 
and  complaint,  which,  however  extorted  by  oppres- 
sion, or  supported  by  reason,  are  detested  by  one 
part  of  the  world  as  rebellion,  censured  by  another 
as  peevishness,  by  some  heard  with  an  appearance 
ot  compassion,  only  to  betray  any  of  those  sallies  of 
vehemence  and  resentment  which  are  apt  to  break 
out  upon  encouragement,  and  by  others  passed  over 
with  indifference  and  neglect,  as  matters  in  which 
they  have  no  concern,  and  which,  if  they  should 
endeavour  to  examine  or  regulate,  they  mio-ht  draw 
mischief  upon  themselves.  ° 

;'  Yet  since  it  is  no  less   natural  for  those  who 
think  themselves  injured  to  complain,  than  for  others 

NO.    55.  RAMBLER.  381 

to  neglect  their  complaints,  I  shall  venture  to  lay 
my  case  before  you,  in  hopes  that  you  will  enforce 
my  opinion,  if  you  think  it  just,  or  endeavour  to 
rectify  my  sentiments,  if  I  am  mistaken.  I  expect, 
at  least,  that  you  will  divest  yourself  of  partiality, 
and  that,  whatever  your  age  or  solemnity  may  be, 
you  will  not,  with  the  dotard's  insolence,  pronounce 
me  ignorant  and  foolish,  perverse  and  refractory, 
only  because  you  perceive  that  I  am  young. 

"  My  father  dying  when  I  was  but  ten  years  old, 
left  me,  and  a  brother  two  years  younger  than  my- 
self, to  the  care  of  my  mother,  a  woman  of  birth  and 
education,  whose  prudence  or  virtue  he  had  no 
reason  to  distrust.  She  felt,  for  some  time,  all  the 
sorrow  which  nature  calls  forth  upon  the  final  sep- 
aration of  persons  dear  to  one  another ;  and  as  her 
grief  was  exhausted  by  its  own  violence,  it  subsided 
into  tenderness  for  me  and  my  brother,  and  the 
year  of  mourning  was  spent  in  caresses,  consolations, 
and  instruction,  in  celebration  of  my  father's  virtues, 
in  professions  of  perpetual  regard  to  his  memory, 
and  hourly  instances  of  such  fondness  as  gratitude 
will  not  easily  suffer  me  to  forget. 

"  But  when  the  term  for  this  mournful  felicity 
was  expired,  and  my  mother  appeared  again  with- 
out the  ensigns  of  sorrow,  the  ladies  of  her  acquaint- 
ance began  to  tell  her,  upon  whatever  motives,  that 
it  was  time  to  live  like  the  rest  of  the  world;  a 
powerful  argument,  which  is  seldom  used  to  a 
woman  without  effect.  Lady  Giddy  was  incessantly 
relating  the  occurrences  of  the  town,  and  Mrs. 
Gravely  told  her  privately,  with  great  tenderness, 
that  it  began  to  be  publicly  observed  how  much  she 
overacted  her  part,  and  that  most  of  her  acquaint- 
ance suspected  her  hope  of  procuring  another 
husband  to  be  the  true  ground  of  all  that  appearance 
of  tenderness  and  piety. 

382  RAMBLER.  ,  NO.    55. 

"  All  the  officiousness  of  kindness  and  folly  was 
busied  to  change  her  conduct.  She  was  at  one 
time  alarmed  with  censure,  and  at  another  fired  with 
praise.  She  was  told  of  balls,  where  others  shone 
only  because  she  was  absent ;  of  new  comedies,  to 
which  all  the  town  was  crowding ;  and  of  many  in- 
genious ironies,  by  which  domestic  diligence  was 
made  contemptible. 

"  It  is  difficult  for  virtue  to  stand  alone  against 
fear  on  one  side,  and  pleasure  on  the  other ;  espe- 
cially when  no  actual  crime  is  proposed,  and  prudence 
itself  can  suggest  many  reasons  for  relaxation  and 
indulgence.     My  mamma  was  at  last  persuaded  to 
accompany  Miss  Giddy  to  a  play.  She  was  received 
with  a  boundless  profusion  of  compliments,  and  at- 
tended home  by  a  very  fine  gentleman.     Next  day, 
she  was  with  less  difficulty  prevailed  on  to  play  at 
Mrs.    Gravely's,  and  came  home  gay  and  lively; 
for  the  distinctions  that  had  been  paid  her  awakened 
her  vanity,  and  good  luck  had  kept  her  principles 
of  frugality  from  giving  her  disturbance.     She  now 
made  her  second  entrance  into  the  world,  and  her 
friends  were  sufficiently  industrious  to  prevent  any 
return  to  her  former  hfe ;    every  morning  brought 
messages  of  invitation,  and  every  evening  was  passed 
in  places  of  diversion,  from  which  she  for  some  time 
complained  that  she  had  rather  be  absent.     In  a 
short  time  she  began  to  feel  the  happiness  of  acting 
without   control,   of  being   unaccountable    for    her 
hours,  her  expenses,  and  her  company  ;  and  learned, 
by  degrees,  to  drop  an  expression  of  contempt,  or 
pity,  at  the  mention  of  ladies  whose  husbands  were 
suspected  of  restraining  their  pleasures  or  their  play, 
and  confessed  that  she  loved  to  go  and  come  as  she 

"  I  was  still  favoured  with  some  incidental  pre- 

NO.    55.  RAMBLER.  383 

cepts  and  transient  endearments,  and  was  now  and 
then  fondlj  kissed  for  smiling  like  my  papa ;  but 
most  part  of  her  morning  was  spent  in  comparing 
the  opinion  of  her  maid  and  milliner,  contriving 
some  variation  in  her  dress,  visiting  shops,  and 
sending  compliments;  and  the  rest  of  the  day  was 
too  short  for  visits,  cards,  plays,  and  concerts. 

"  She  now  began  to  discover  that  it  was  impos- 
sible to  educate  children  properly  at  home.  Parents 
could  not  have  them  always  in  their  sight ;  the 
society  of  servants  was  contagious ;  company  pro- 
duced boldness  and  spirit ;  emulation  excited  indus- 
try ;  and  a  large  school  was  naturally  the  first  step 
into  the  open  world.  A  thousand  other  reasons  she 
alleged,  some  of  little  force  in  themselves,  but  so 
well  seconded  by  pleasure,  vanity,  and  idleness, 
that  they  soon  overcame  all  the  remaining  principles 
of  kindness  and  piety,  and  both  I  and  my  brother 
were  dispatched  to  boarding-schools. 

"  How  my  mamma  spent  her  time  when  she  was 
thus  disburdened  I  am  not  able  to  inform  you,  but 
I  have  reason  to  believe  that  trifles  and  amusements 
took  still  faster  hold  of  her  heart.  At  first,  she 
visited  me  at  school,  and  afterwards  wrote  to  me; 
but  in  a  short  time  both  her  visits  and  her  letters 
were  at  an  end,  and  no  other  notice  was  taken  of 
me  than  to  remit  money  for  my  support. 

"•  When  I  came  home,  at  the  vacation,  I  found 
myself  coldly  received,  with  an  observation,  that 
'  this  girl  will  presently  be  a  woman.'  I  was,  after 
the  usual  stay,  sent  to  school  again,  and  overheard 
my  mother  say,  as  I  was  a-going,  '  Well,  now  I 
shall  recover.' 

"  In  six  months  more  I  came  again,  and  with  the 
usual  childish  alacrity,  was  running  to  my  mother's 
embrace,  when  she  stopped  me  with  exclamations  at 

384  RAMBLER.  NO.    55. 

the  suddenness  and  enormity  of  my  growth,  having, 
she  said,  never  seen  any  body  shoot  up  so  much  at 
my  age.  She  was  sure  no  other  girls  spread  at  that 
rate,  and  she  hated  to  have  children  look  like  women 
before  their  time.  I  was  disconcerted,  and  retired 
without  hearing  any  thing  more  than,  'Nay,  if 
you  are  angry,  Madam  Steeple,  you  may  walk  off.' 

"  When  once  the  forms  of  civihty  are  violated, 
there  remains  httle  hope  of  return  to  kindness  or 
decency.  My  mamma  made  this  appearance  of  re- 
sentment a  reason  for  continuing  her  malignity ;  and 
poor  Miss  May-pole,  for  that  was  my  appellation, 
was  never  mentioned  or  spoken  to  but  with  some 
expression  of  anger  or  dislike. 

"  She  had  yet  the  pleasure  of  dressing  me  like  a 
child,  and  I  know  not  when  I  should  have  been 
thought  fit  to  change  my  habit,  had  I  not  been  res- 
cued by  a  maiden  sister  of  my  fiither,  who  could  not 
bear  to  see  women  in  hanging-sleeves,  and,  there- 
fore, presented  me  with  brocade  for  a  gown,  for 
which  I  should  have  thought  myself  under  great 
obhgations  had  she  not  accompanied  her  favour  with 
some  hints  that  my  mamma  might  now  consider  her 
age,  and  give  me  her  ear-rings,  which  she  had 
shown  long  enough  in  public  places. 

"  I  now  left  the  school  and  came  to  live  with  my 
mamma,  who  considered  me  as  an  usurper  that  had 
seized  the  rights  of  a  woman  before  they  were  due, 
and  was  pushing  her  down  the  precipice  of  age,  that 
I  might  reign  without  a  superior.  While  I  am  thus 
beheld  with  jealousy  and  suspicion,  you  will  readily 
believe  that  it  is  difficult  to  please.  Every  word 
and  look  is  an  ofience.  I  never  speak,  but  I  pretend 
to  some  qualities  and  excellences,  which  it  is  crimi- 
nal to  possess  ;  if  I  am  gay,  she  thinks  it  early  enough 
to  coquette ;  if  I  am  grave,  she  hates  a  prude  in 

NO.    55.  RAMBLER.  3^5 

hihs  ;  if  I  venture  into  company,  I  am  in  haste  for  a 
husband;  if  I  retire  to  my  chamber,  such  matron- 
like ladies  are  lovers  of  contemplation.  I  am  on 
one  pretence  or  other  generally  excluded  from  her 
assemblies,  nor  am  I  ever  suffered  to  visit  at  the 
same  place  with  my  mamma.  Every  one  wonders 
why  she  does  not  bring  Miss  more  into  the  world, 
and  when  she  comes  home  in  vapours,  I  am  certain 
that  she  has  heard  either  of  my  beauty  or  my  wit, 
and  expect  nothing  for  the  ensuing  week  but  taunts 
and  menaces,  contradiction  and  reproaches. 

"  Thus  I  hve  in  a  state  of  continual  persecution, 
only  because  I  was  born  ten  years  too  soon,  and 
cannot  stop  the  course  of  nature  or  of  time,  but  am 
unhappily  a  woman  before  my  mother  can  willino-ly 
cease  to  be  a  girl.     I  believe  you  would  contribme 
to  the  happmess  of  many  famihes,  if,  by  any  argu- 
ments   or   persuasions,  you    could    make    mothers 
ashamed  of  rivaUing  their  children ;   if  you  could 
show  them  that,  though  they  may  refuse   to  orow 
wise  they  must  inevitably  grow  old;  and  that"  the 
proper  solaces  of  age  are  not  music  and  compli- 
ments, but  wisdom  and  devotion ;  that  those  who  are 
so  unwilling   to  quit  the  world  wiU   soon   be  driven 
from  it;  and  that  it  is  therefore  their  interest  to  re- 
tire while  there  yet  remain  a  few  hours  for  nobler 

"  I  am,  &c., 

"  Parthenia." 

VOL.  XVI.  25 


KAMBLER.  NO.    56. 

No.  56.     SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER  29,  1750. 

—  Valeat  res  ludicra,  si  me 
Palma  negata  macrum,  donata  reducit  qpimum. 

HOR.  EPIST.  ii.  1.  180. 

Farewell  the  stage;  for  humbly  I  disclaim 

Such  fond  pursuits  of  pleasure,  or  of  tame, 

If  I  must  sink  in  shame,  or  swell  with  pride, 

As  the  gay  palm  is  granted  or  denied.  Francis. 

Nothing  is  more  unpleasing  than  to  find  that 
offence  has  been  received  when  none  was  intended, 
and  that  pain  has  been  given  to  those  who  were  not 
cruilty  of  any  provocation.  As  the  great  end  ot 
society  is  mutual  beneficence,  a  good  man  is  always 
uneasy  when  he  finds  himself  acting  in  opposition 
to  the  purposes  of  life ;  because,  though  his  con- 
science may  easily  acquit  him  of  malice  prepense, 
of  settled  hatred  or  contrivances  of  mischief,  yet  he 
seldom  can  be  certain  that  he  has  not  failed  by 
neo-ligence,  or  indolence ;  that  he  has  not  been  hin- 
dered from  consulting  the  common  interest  by  too 
much  regard  to  his  own  ease,  or  too  much  inditier- 
ence  to  the  happiness  of  others. 

Nor  is  it  necessary,  that,  to  feel  this  uneasiness, 
the  mmd  should  be  extended  to  any  great  diffusion 
of  generosity,  or  melted  by  uncommon  warmth  ot 
benevolence;  for  that  prudence  which  the  world 
teaches,  and  a  quick  sensibility  of  private  mterest, 
wiU  direct  us  to  shun  needless  enmities ;  since  there 
is  no  man  whose  kindness  we  may  not  some  time 

NO.    56.  RAMBLER.  337 

want,  or  by  whose  malice  we  may  not  some  time 

I  have,  therefore,  frequently  looked  with  wonder, 
and  now  and  then  with  pity,  at  the  thoughtlessness 
with  which  some  ahenate  from  themselves  the  affec- 
tions of  all  whom   chance,  business,  or  incHnation, 
brings  m  their  way.     When  we  see  a  man  pursumg 
some  darling  interest,  without  much  regard  to  the 
opinion  of  the  world,  we  justly  consider  him  as  cor- 
rupt and  dangerous,  but  are  not  long  in  discovermg 
his  motives ;  we  see  him  actuated  by  passions  which 
are  hard  to  be  resisted,  and  deluded  by  appearances 
which  have  dazzled  stronger  eyes.     But  the  greater 
part  of  those  who  set  mankmd  at  defiance  by  hourly 
irritation,  and  who  live  but  to  infuse  malignity  and 
multiply  enemies,  have  no  hopes  to  foster,  no  designs 
to  promote,  nor  any  expectations  of  attaining  power 
by  insolence,  or  of  climbing  to  greatness  by  tramp- 
ling on  others.     They  give  up  all  the  sweets  of  kind- 
ness for  the  sake  of  peevishness,  petulance,  or  gloom; 
and  alienate  the  world  by  neglect  of  the  common 
•  forms  of  civility,  and  breach  of  the  estabhshed  laws 
of  conversation. 

Every  one  must,  in  the  walks  of  hfe,  have  met 
with  men  of  whom  all  speak  with  censure,  though 
they  are  not  chargeable  with  any  crime,  and  wholn 
none  can  be  persuaded  to  love,  though  a  reason  can 
scarcely  be  assigned  why  they  should  be  hated  ;  and 
who,  if  their  good  qualities  and  actions  sometimes 
force  a  commendation,  have  their  panegyric  always 
concluded  with  confessions  of  disgust :  "  He  is  a  good 
man,  but  I  cannot  like  him."     Surely,  such  pei^ons 
have  sold  the  esteem  of  the  world  at  too  low  a  price, 
since  they  have  lost  one  of  the  rewards  of  virtue, 
without  gaining  the  profits  of  wickedness. 

This  ill  economy  of  fame  is  sometimes  the  effect 

388  RAMBLER.  NO.    56. 

of  Stupidity.  Men  whose  perceptions  are  languid 
and  sluggish,  who  lament  nothing  but  loss  of  money, 
and  feel  nothing  but  a  blow,  are  often  at  a  difficulty 
to  guess  why  they  are  encompassed  with  enemies, 
though  they  neglect  all  those  arts  by  which  men  are 
endeared  to  one  another.  They  comfort  themselves 
that  they  have  lived  irreproachably  ;  that  none  can 
charge  them  Avith  having  endangered  his  life,  or 
duninished  his  possessions  ;  and,  therefore,  conclude, 
that  they  suffer  by  some  invincible  fatahty,  or  im- 
pute the  maUce  of  their  neighbours  to  ignorance  or 
envy.  They  wrap  themselves  up  in  their  innocence, 
and  enjoy  the  congratulations  of  their  own  hearts, 
without  knowing  or  suspecting  that  they  are  every 
day  deservedly  incurring  resentment,  by  withholding 
from  those  with  whom  they  converse,  that  regard, 
or  appearance  of  regard,  to  which  every  one  is  en- 
titled by  the  customs  of  the  world. 

There  are  many  injuries  which  almost  every  man 
feels,  though  he  does  not  complain,  and  which,  upon 
those  whom  vktue,  elegance,  or  vanity  have  made 
delicate  and  tender,  fix  deep  and  lastmg  impressions  ; 
as  there  are  many  arts  of  graciousness  and  concilia- 
tion, which  are  to  be  practised  without  expense,  and 
by  which  those  may  be  made  our  friends,  who  have 
never  received  from  us  any  real  benefit.  Such  arts, 
when  they  include  neither  guilt  nor  meanness,  it  is 
surely  reasonable  to  learn,  for  who  would  want  that 
love  which  is  so  easily  to  be  gained  ?  And  such  in- 
juries are  to  be  avoided ;  for  who  would  be  hated 
without  profit  ? 

Some,  indeed,  there  are,  for  whom  the  excuse  of 
ignorance  or  negligence  cannot  be  alleged,  because 
it  is  apparent  that  they  are  not  only  careless  of 
pleasing,  but  studious  to  offend ;  that  they  contrive 
to  make  all  approaches  to  them  difficult  and  vexa- 

NO.   56. 

RAMBLER.  389 

tious,  and  imagine  that  they  aggrandize  themselves 
by  wasting  the  time  of  others  in  useless  attendance, 
by  mortifying  them  with  slights,  and  teasmg  them 
with  affronts. 

Men  of  this  kind  are  generally  to  be  found  among 
those  that  have  not  mmgled  much  in  general  con- 
versation, but  spent  their  lives  amidst  the  obsequious- 
ness of  dependents,  and  the  flattery  of  parasites ; 
and  by  long  consuking  only  their  own  inclination, 
have  forgotten  that  others  have  a  claun  to  the  same 

Tyranny,  thus  avowed,  is  indeed  an  exuberance 
of  pride,  by  which  all  mankind  is  so  much  enraged 
that  it  is  never  quietly  endured,  except  in  those  who 
can  reward  the  patience  which  they  exact ;  and  in- 
solence is  generally  surrounded  only  by  such  whose 
baseness  mclines  them  to  think  nothmg  msupport- 
able  that  produces  gain,  and  who  can  laugh  at 
scurrility  and  rudeness  with  a  luxurious  table  and 
an  open  purse. 

But  though  all  wanton  provocations  and  contemp- 
tuous msolence  are  to  be  dihgently  avoided,  there 
is  no  less  danger  in  timid  compliance  and  tame  res- 
ignation. It  is  common  for  soft  and  fearful  tempers 
to  give  themselves  up  implicitly  to  the  directions  of 
the  bold,  the  turbulent,  and  the  overbearing;  of 
those  whom  they  do  not  believe  wiser  or  better  than 
themselves  ;  to  recede  from  the  best  designs  where 
opposition  must  be  encountered,  and  to  fall  off  from 
virtue  for  fear  of  censure. 

Some  firmness  and  resolution  is  necessary  to  the 
discharge  of  duty ;  but  it  is  a  very  imhappy  state  of 
life  in  which  the  necessity  of  such  struggles  fre- 
quently occurs ;  for  no  man  is  defeated  without 
some  resentment  which  will  be  continued  with  ob- 
stinacy Avhile  he  beHeves  himself  in  the  right,  and 

390  RAMBLER.  NO.   56. 

exerted  with  bitterness,  if  even  to  his  own  conviction* 
he  is  detected  in  the  wrong. 

Even  though  no  regard  be  had  to  the  external 
consequences  of  contrariety  and  dispute,  it  must  be 
painful  to  a  worthy  mind  to  put  others  in  pain,  and 
there  will  be  danger  lest  the  kindest  nature  may  be 
vitiated  by  too  long  a  custom  of  debate  and  contest. 

I  am  afraid  that  I  may  be  taxed  with  insensibility 
by  many  of  my  correspondents,  who  believe  their 
contributions  unjustly  neglected.  And,  indeed,  when 
I  sit  before  a  pile  of  papers,  of  which  each  is  the 
production  of  laborious  study,  and  the  offspring  of  a 
fond  parent,  I,  who  know  the  passions  of  an  author, 
cannot  remember  how  long  they  have  lain  in  my 
boxes  unregarded,  without  imagining  to  myself  the 
various  changes  of  sorrow,  impatience,  and  resent- 
ment, which  the  writers  must  have  felt  in  this  tedious 

These  reflections  are  still  more  awakened,  when, 
upon  perusal,  I  find  some  of  them  calling  for  a  place 
in  the  next  paper,  a  place  which  they  have  never  yet 
obtained ;  others  writing  in  a  style  of  superiority 
and  haughtiness,  ^s  secure  of  deference,  and  above 
fear  of  criticism  ;  others  humbly  offering  their  weak 
assistance  with  softness  and  submission,  which  they 
believe  impossible  to  be  resisted ;  some  introducing 
their  comj^ositions  w^ith  a  menace  of  the  contempt 
which  he  that  refuses  them  will  incur  ;  others  apply- 
ing privately  to  the  booksellers  for  their  interest  and 
sohcitation ;  every  one  by  different  ways  endeavour- 
ing to  secure  the  bliss  of  publication.  I  cannot  but 
consider  myself  as  placed  in  a  very  mcommodious 
situation,  where  I  am  forced  to  repress  confidence, 
which  it  is  pleasing  to  indulge,  to  repay  civilities 
with  appearances  of  neglect,  and  so  frequently  to 
offsnd  those  by  whom  I  never  was  offended. 

NO.    56.  RAMBLER.  391 

I  know  well  how  rarely  an  author,  fired  with  the 
beauties  of  his  new  composition,  contains  his  raptures 
in  his  own  bosom,  and  how  naturally  he  imparts  to 
his  friends  his  expectations  of  renown  ;  and  as  I  can 
easily  conceive  the  eagerness  with  which  a  new 
paper  is  snatched  up,  by  one  who  expects  to  find  it 
filled  with  his  own  production,  and,  perhaps,  has 
called  his  companions  to  share  the  pleasure  of  a 
second  perusal,  I  grieve  for  the  disappointment  which 
he  is  to  feel  at  the  fatal  inspection.  His  hopes, 
however,  do  not  yet  forsake  him  ;  he  is  certain  of 
giving  lustre  the  next  day.  The  next  day  comes, 
and  again  he  pants  with  expectation,  and  having 
dreamed  of  laurels  and  Parnassus,  casts  his  eyes 
upon  the  barren  page  with  which  he  is  doomed  never 
more  to  be  delighted. 

For  such  cruelty  what  atonement  can  be  made  ? 
For  such  calamities  what  alleviation  can  be  found  ? 
I  am  afraid  that  the  mischief  already  done  must  be 
without  reparation,  and  all  that  deserves  my  care  is 
prevention  for  the  future.  Let,  therefore,  the  next 
friendly  contributor,  whoever  he  be,  observe  the 
cautions  of  Swift,  and  write  secretly  in  his  own 
chamber,  without  communicating  his  design  to  his 
nearest  friend,  for  the  nearest  friend  will  be  pleased 
with  an  opportunity  of  laughing.  Let  him  carry  it 
to  the  post  himself,  and  wait  in  silence  for  the  event. 
If  it  is  published  and  praised,  he  may  then  declare 
himself  the  author  :  if  it  be  suppressed,  he  may 
wonder  in  private  without  much  vexation ;  and  if  it 
be  censured,  he  may  join  in  the  cry,  and  lament  the 
dulness  of  the  writing  generation. 

392  EAMBLEK.  NO.    57. 

No.  57.     TUESDAY,  OCTOBER  2,  1750. 

Non  intellifjunt  homines  quam  magnum  vectigal  sit  parsimonia. 


The  world  has  not  yet  leai-ned  the  riches  of  frugaUty. 

"  TO    THE   RAMBLER. 
"  SIR, 

"  I  AM  always  pleased  when  I  see  literature  made 
useful,  and  scholars  descending  from  that  elevation, 
which,  as  it  raises  them  above  common  life,  must 
likewise  hinder  them  from  beholding  the  ways  of 
men  otherwise  than  in  a  cloud  of  bustle  and  con- 
fusion. Having  lived  a  life  of  business,  and  re- 
marked how  seldom  any  occurrences  emerge  for 
which  great  qualities  are  required,  I  have  learned 
the  necessity  of  regarding  little  things  ;  and  though 
I  do  not  pretend  to  give  laws  to  the  legislators  of 
mankind,  or  to  limit  the  range  of  those  powerful 
minds  that  carry  light  and  heat  through  all  the 
regions  of  knowledge,  yet  I  have  long  thought,  that 
the  greatest  part  of  those  who  lose  themselves  in 
studies,  by  which  I  have  not  found  that  they  grow 
much  wiser,  might,  with  more  advantage,  both  to 
the  public  and  themselves,  apply  their  understanding 
to  domestic  arts,  and  store  their  minds  Avith  axioms  of 
humble  prudence  and  private  economy. 

"  Your  late  paper  on  frugality  was  very  elegant 
and  pleasing,  but,  in  my  opinion,  not  sufficiently 
adapted  to  common  readers,  who  pay  little  regard 

NO.    57.  RAMBLER.  393 

to  the  music  of  periods,  the  artifice  of  connection,  or 
the  arrangement  of  the  flowers  of  rhetoric ;  but  re- 
quire a  few  plain  and  cogent  instructions;  which 
may  sink  into  the  mind  of  their  own  weight. 

"  FrugaUty  is  so  necessary  to  the  happiness  of  the 
world,  so  beneficial  in  its  various  forms  to  every  rank 
of  men,  from  the  highest  of  human  potentates,  to 
the  lowest  labourer  or  artificer;  and  the  miseries 
whicli  the  neglect  of  it  produces  are  so  numerous 
and  so  grievous,  that  it  ought  to  be  recommended 
with  every  variation  of  address,  and  adapted  to 
every  class  of  understanding. 

"  Whether  those  who  treat  morals  as  a  science  will 
allow  frugality  to  be  numbered  among  the  virtues, 
I  have  not  thought  it  necessary  to  inquire.  For  I, 
who  draw  my  opinions  from  a  careful  observation 
of  the  world,  am  satisfied  with  knowing  what  is 
abundantly  sufficient  for  j)ractice,  that  if  it  be  not  a 
virtue,  it  is,  at  least,  a  quality  which  can  seldom 
exist  without  some  virtues,  and  without  which  few 
virtues  can  exist.  Frugality  may  be  termed  the 
daughter  of  Prudence,  the  sister  of  Temperance, 
and  the  parent  of  Liberty.  He  that  is  extravagant 
will  quickly  become  poor,  and  poverty  will  enforce 
dependence,  and  invite  corruption  ;  it  will  almost 
always  produce  a  passive  compliance  with  the  wick- 
edness of  others  ;  and  there  are  few  who  do  not 
learn,  by  degrees,  to  practise  those  crimes  which  they 
cease  to  censure. 

"  If  there  are  any  who  do  not  dread  poverty  as 
dangerous  to  virtue,  yet  mankind  seem  unanimous 
enough  in  abhorring  it  as  destructive  to  happiness ; 
and  all  to  whom  want  is  terrible,  upon  whatever 
principle,  ought  to  think  themselves  obliged  to  learn 
the  sage  maxims  of  our  parsimonious  ancestors,  and 
attain  the  salutary  arts  of  contracting  expense ;  for 

394  RAMBLER.  NO.    57. 

without  frugality  none  can  be  rich,  and  with  it  very 
few  would  be  poor. 

"  To  most  other  acts  of  virtue,  or  exertions  of 
wisdom,  a  concurrence  of  many  circumstances  is 
necessary,  some  previous  knowledge  must  be  at- 
tained, some  uncommon  gifts  of  nature  possessed,  or 
some  opportunity  produced  by  an  extraordinary 
combination  of  things;  but  the  mere  power  of 
saving  what  is  already  in  our  hands,  must  be  easy 
of  acquisition  to  every  mind ;  and  as  the  example 
of  Bacon  may  show  that  the  highest  intellect  can- 
not safely  neglect  it,  a  thousand  instances  will  every 
day  prove,  that  the  meanest  may  practise  it  with 

"  Riches  cannot  be  within  the  reach  of  great  num- 
bers, because  to  be  rich  is  to  possess  more  than  is 
commonly  placed  in  a  single  hand;  and  if  many 
could  obtain  the  sum  which  now  makes  a  man 
wealthy,  the  name  of  wealth  must  then  be  trans- 
ferred to  still  greater  accumulations.  But  I  am  not 
certain  that  it  is  equally  impossible  to  exempt  the 
lower  classes  of  mankind  from  poverty ;  because, 
though  whatever  be  the  wealth  of  the  community, 
some  will  always  have  least,  and  he  that  has  less 
than  any  other  is  comparatively  poor  ;  yet  I  do  not 
see  any  coactive  necessity  that  many  should  be  with- 
out the  indispensable  conveniencies  of  life ;  but  am 
sometimes  inclined  to  imagine,  that,  casual  calamities 
excepted,  there  might,  by  universal  prudence,  be  pro- 
cured an  universal  exemption  from  want ;  and  that 
he  who  should  happen  to  have  least,  might,  notwith- 
standing, have  enough. 

"  But  without  entering  too  far  into  speculations 
which  I  do  not  remember  that  any  political  calculator 
has  attempted,  and  in  which  the  most  perspicacious 
reasoner  may  be  easily  bewildered,  it  is  evident  that 

NO.    67.  RAMBLER.  395 

they  to  whom  Providence  has  allotted  no  other  care 
but  of  then-  own  fortune  and  their  own  virtue,  which 
make  far  the  greater  part  of  mankind,  have  sufficient 
incitements  to  personal  frugality;  since,  whatever 
might  be  its  general  effect  upon  provinces  or  nations, 
by  which  it  is  never  likely  to  be  tried,  we  know  with 
certainty  that  there  is  scarcely  any  individual  enter- 
ing the  world,  who,  by  prudent  parsimony,  may  not 
reasonably  promise  himself  a  cheerful  competence 
in  the  decline  of  life. 

"  The  prospect  of  penury  in  age  is  so  gloomy  and 
terrifying,  that  every  man  who  looks  before  him 
must  resolve  to  avoid  it;  and  it  must  be  avoided 
generally  by  the  science  of  sparring.  For,  though 
in  every  age  there  are  some  who,  by  bold  adventures 
or  by  favourable  accidents,  rise  suddenly  to  riches, 
yet  it  is  dangerous  to  indulge  hopes  of  such  rare 
events ;  and  the  bulk  of  mankind  must  owe  their 
affluence  to  small  and  gradual  proj&ts,  below  which 
their  expense  must  be  resolutely  reduced. 

"  You  must  not,  therefore,  think  me  sinking  below 
the  dignity  of  a  practical  philosopher,  when  I  recom- 
mend to  the  consideration  of  your  readers,  from  the 
statesman  to  the  apprentice,  a  position  replete  with 
mercantile  wisdom :  'A  penny  saved  is  two-pence 
got ; '  which  may,  I  think,  be  accommodated  to  all 
conditions,  by  observing,  not  only  that  they  who 
pursue  any  lucrative  employment  will  save  time 
when  they  forbear  expense,  and  that  the  time  may 
be  employed  to  the  increase  of  profit ;  but  that  they 
who  are  above  such  minute  considerations,  will  find, 
by  every  victory  over  appetite  or  passion,  new 
strength  added  to  the  mind,  wiU  gain  the  power 
of  refusing  those  solicitations  by  which  the  young 
and  vivacious   are  hourly  assaulted,  and   in  time 

396  RAMBLER.  NO.    57. 

set  themselves  above  the  reach  of  extravagance 
and  follj. 

"  It  may,  perhaps,  be  inquired  by  those  who  are 
willing  rather  to  cavil  than  to  learn,  what  is  the  just 
measure  of  frugality  ?  and  when  expense,  not  abso- 
lutely necessaiy,  degenerates  into  profusion  ?  To 
such  questions  no  general  answer  can  be  returned ; 
since  the  liberty  of  spending,  or  necessity  of  parsi- 
mony, may  be  varied  without  end  by  different  cir- 
cumstances. It  may,  however,  be  laid  down  as  a 
rule  never  to  be  broken,  that  'a  man's  voluntary 
expense  should  not  exceed  his  revenue ; '  a  maxim 
so  obvious  and  incontrovertible,  that  the  civil  law 
ranks  the  prodigal  with  the  madman,  and  debars 
them  equally  from  the  conduct  of  their  own  affairs. 
Another  precept  arising  from  the  former,  and,  indeed, 
included  in  it,  is  yet  necessary  to  be  distinctly  im- 
pressed upon  the  warm,  the  fanciful,  and  the  brave : 
*  Let  no  man  anticipate  uncertain  profits.'  Let  no 
man  presume  to  spend  upon  hopes,  to  trust  his  own 
abilities  for  means  of  deliverance  from  penury,  to 
give  a  loose  to  his  present  desires,  and  leave  the 
reckoning  to  fortune  or  to  virtue. 

"  To  these  cautions,  which,  I  suppose,  are,  at  least 
among  the  graver  part  of  mankind,  undisputed,  I  will 
add  another  :  '  Let  no  man  squander  against  his  in- 
clination.' With  this  precept  it  may  be,  perhaps, 
imagined  easy  to  comply ;  yet  if  those  whom  pro- 
fusion has  buried  in  prisons,  or  driven  into  banish- 
ment, were  examined,  it  would  be  found  that  very 
few  were  ruined  by  their  own  choice,  or  i^urchased 
pleasure  with  the  loss  of  their  estates  ;  but  that  they 
suffered  themselves  to  be  borne  away  by  the  violence 
of  those  with  whom  they  conversed,  and  yielded 
reluctantly  to  a  thousand  prodigalities,  either  from 
a  trivial  emulation  of  wealth  and  spirit,  or  a  mean 

NO.    58.  RAMBLER. 


fear  of  contempt  and  ridicule  ;  an  emulation  for  the 
prize  of  folly,  or  the  dread  of  the  laugh  of  fools. 

"  I  am,  Sir, 

"  Your  humble  servant, 


No.  58.     SATURDAY,  OCTOBER  6,  1750. 

— Improbce 
Crescunt  divitice.     Tamen 
CurtoB  nescio  quid  semper  abest  rei. 

HOE.  CAE.  iii.  24.  62. 

But,  while  in  heaps  his  -wicked  wealth  ascends, 

He  is  not  of  his  wish  possest ; 
There  's  something  wanting  still  to  make  him  blest. 


As  the  love  of  money  has  been,  in  all  ages,  one 
of  the  passions  that  have  given  great  disturbance  to 
the  tranquillity  of  the  world,  there  is  no  topic  more 
copiously  treated  by  the  ancient  moralists  than  the 
folly  of  devoting  the  heart  to  the  accumulation  of 
riches.  They  who  are  acquainted  with  these  authors 
need  not  to  be  told  how  riches  excite  pity,  contempt, 
or  reproach,  whenever  they  are  mentioned ;  with 
what  numbers  of  examples  the  danger  of  large  pos- 
sessions is  illustrated ;  and  how  all  the  powers  of 
reason  and  eloquence  have  been  exhausted  in  en- 
deavours to  eradicate  a  desire,  which  seems  to  have 
intrenched  itself  too  strongly  in  the  mind  to  be 
driven   out,  and  which,  perhaps,  had   not   lost  its 

398  RAMBLER. 

NO.    58. 

power,  even  over  those  who  declaimed  against  it, 
but  would  have  broken  out  in  the  poet  or  the  sage, 
if  it  had  been  excited  by  opportunity,  and  invigo- 
rated by  the  approximation  of  its  proper  object. 

Their  arguments  have  been,  indeed,  so  unsuccess- 
ful, that  I  know  not  whether  it  can  be  shown,  that 
by  all  the  wit  and  reason  which  this  favourite  cause 
has  called  forth,  a  single  convert  was  ever  made ; 
that  even  one  man  has  refused  to  be  rich,  when  to 
be  rich  was  in  his  power,  from  the  conviction  of  the 
greater  happiness  of  a  narrow  fortune ;  or  disbur- 
dened himself  of  wealth,  when  he  had  tried  its 
inquietudes,  merely  to  enjoy  the  peace,  and  leisure, 
and  security  of  a  mean  and  unenvied  state. 

It  is^  true,  indeed,  that  many  have  neglected  op- 
portunities of  raising  themselves  to  honours  and  to 
wealth,  and  rejected  the  kindest  offers  of  fortune  : 
but,  however  their  moderation  may  be  boasted  by 
themselves,  or  admired  by  such  as  only  view  them 
at  a  distance,  it  will  be,  perhaps,  seldom  found  that 
they  value  riches  less,  but  that  they  dread  labour  or 
danger  more  than  others ;  they  are  unable  to  rouse 
themselves  to  action,  to  strain  in  the  race  of  compe- 
tition, or  to  stand  the  shock  of  contest;  but  though 
they,  therefore,  decline  the  toil  of  climbing,  they 
nevertheless  wish  themselves  aloft,  and  would  will- 
ingly enjoy  what  they  dare  not  seize. 

Others  have  retired  from  high  stations,  and  volun- 
tarily condemned  themselves  to  privacy  and  obscur- 
ity. But,  even  these  will  not  afford  many  occasions 
of  triumph  to  the  philosopher ;  for  they  have  com- 
monly either  quitted  that  only  which  they  thought 
themselves  unable  to  hold,  and  prevented  disgrace 
by  resignation ;  or  they  have  been  induced  or  try 
new  measures  by  general  inconstancy,  which  always 
dreams  of  happiness  in  novelty,  or  by  a  gloomy  dis- 

NO.    58.  RAMBLER.  399 

position,  whicli  is  disgusted  in  the  same  degree  with 
every  state,  and  wishes  every  scene  of  hfe  to 
change  as  soon  as  it  is  beheld.  Such  men  found 
high  and  low  stations  equally  unable  to  satisfy  the 
wishes  of  a  distempered  mind,  and  were  unable  to 
shelter  themselves  in  the  closest  retreat  from  disap- 
pointment, solicitude,  and  misery. 

Yet  though  these  admonitions  have  been  thus 
neglected  by  those,  who  either  enjoyed  riches,  or 
were  able  to  procure  them,  it  is  not  rashly  to  be 
determined  that  they  are  altogether  without  use  ;  for 
since  far  the  greatest  part  of  mankind  must  be  con- 
fined to  conditions  comparatively  mean,  and  placed 
in  situations,  from  which  they  naturally  look  up  with 
envy  to  the  eminences  before  them,  those  writers 
cannot  be  thought  ill  employed  that  have  admin- 
istered remedies  to  discontent  almost  universal,  by 
showing,  that  what  we  cannot  reach  may  very  well 
be  forborne,  that  the  inequality  of  distribution,  at 
which  we  murmur,  is  for  the  most  part  less  than  it 
seems,  and  that  the  greatness,  which  we  admire 
at  a  distance,  has  much  fewer  advantages,  and 
much  less  splendour,  when  we  are  suffered  to  ap- 
proach it. 

It  is  the  business  of  moralists  to  detect  the  frauds 
of  fortune,  and  to  show  that  she  imposes  upon  the 
careless  eye,  by  a  quick  succession  of  shadows,  which 
will  shrink  to  nothing  in  the  gripe ;  that  she  dis- 
guises life  in  extrinsic  ornaments,  which  serve  only 
for  show,  and  are  laid  aside  in  the  hours  of  solitude 
and  of  pleasure ;  and  that,  when  greatness  aspires 
either  to  felicity  or  to  wisdom,  it  shakes  off  those 
distinctions  which  dazzle  the  gazer  and  awe  the 

It  may  be  remarked,  that  they  whose  condition 
has  not  afforded  them  the  light  of  moral  and  relig- 

400  RAMBLER.  NO.   58. 

ious  instruction,  and  who  collect  all  their  ideas  by 
their  own  eyes,  and  digest  them  by  their  own  under- 
standings, seem  to  consider  those  who  are  placed  in 
ranks  of  remote  superiority,  as  almost  another  and 
higher  species  of  beings.  As  themselves  have 
known  little  other  misery  than  the  consequences  of 
want,  they  are  with  difficulty  persuaded  that  where 
there  is  wealth  there  can  be  sorrow,  or  that  those 
who  glitter  in  dignity,  and  glide  along  in  affluence, 
can  be  acquainted  with  pains  and  cares  like  those 
which  lie  heavy  upon  the  rest  of  mankind. 

This  prejudice  is,  indeed,  confined  to  the  lowest 
meanness  and  the  darkest  ignorance ;  but  it  is  so 
confined  only  because  others  have  been  shown  its 
folly  and  its  falsehood,  because  it  has  been  opposed 
in  its  progress  by  history  and  philosophy,  and  hin- 
dered from  spreading  its  infection  by  powerful  pre- 

The  doctrine  of  the  contempt  of  wealth,  though  it 
has  not  been  able  to  extinguish  avarice  or  ambition, 
or  suppress  that  reluctance  with  which  a  man  passes 
his  days  in  a  state  of  inferiority,  must,  at  least,  have 
made  the  lower  conditions  less  grating  and  weari- 
some, and  has  consequently  contributed  to  the  gen- 
eral security  of  life,  by  hindering  that  fraud  and 
violence,  rapine  and  circumvention,  which  must  have 
been  produced  by  an  unbounded  eagerness  of  wealth, 
arising  from  an  unshaken  conviction,  that  to  be  rich 
is  to  be  happy. 

Whoever  finds  himself  incited,  by  some  violent 
impulse  of  passion,  to  pursue  riches  as  the  chief  end 
of  being,  must  surely  be  so  much  alarmed  by  the 
successive  admonitions  of  those,  whose  experience 
and  sagacity  have  recommended  them  as  the  guides 
of  mankind,  as  to  stop  and  consider  whether  he  is 
about  to  engage  in  an  undertaking  that  will  reward 

NO.    58.  RAMBLER.  401 

his  toil,  and  to  examine,  before  lie  rushes  to  wealth, 
through  right  and  wrong,  what  it  will  confer  when 
he  has  acquired  it ;  and  this  examination  will  seldom 
fail  to  repress  his  ardour  and  retard  his  violence. 

Wealth  is  nothing  in  itself,  it  is  not  useful  but 
when  it  departs  from  us  ;  its  value  is  found  only  in 
that  which  it  can  purchase,  which,  if  we  suppose  it 
put  to  its  best  use  by  those  that  possess  it,  seems  not 
much  to  deserve  the  desire  or  envy  of  a  wise  man. 
It  is  certain,  that,  with  regard  to  corporal  enjoy- 
ment, money  can  neither  open  new  avenues  to  pleas- 
ure, nor  block  up  the  passages  of  anguish.  Disease 
and  infirmity  still  continue  to  torture  and  enfeeble, 
perhaps  exasperated  by  luxury,  or  promoted  by 
softness.  With  respect  to  the  mind,  it  has  rarely 
been  observed  that  wealth  contributes  much  to 
quicken  the  discernment,  enlarge  the  capacity,  or 
elevate  the  imagination ;  but  may,  by  hiring  flattery, 
or  laying  diligence  asleep,  confirm  error  and  harden 

Wealth  cannot  confer  greatness,  for  nothing  can 
make  that  great  which  the  decree  of  nature  has 
ordained  to  be  little.  The  bramble  may  be  placed 
in  a  hotbed,  but  can  never  become  an  oak.  Even 
royalty  itself  is  not  able  to  give  that  dignity  which 
it  happens  not  to  find,  but  oppresses  feeble  minds, 
though  it  may  elevate  the  strong.  The  world  has 
been  governed  in  the  name  of  kings,  whose  existence 
has  scarcely  been  perceived  by  any  real  effects  be- 
yond their  own  palaces. 

When,  therefore,  the  desire  of  wealth  is  taking 
hold  of  the  heart,  let  us  look  round  and  see  how  it 
operates  upon  those  whose  industry  or  fortune  has 
obtained  it.  When  we  find  them  oppressed  with 
their  own  abundance,  luxurious  without  pleasure, 
idle  without  ease,  impatient  and  querulous  in  them- 

VOL.  XVI.  26 

402  RAMBLER.  NO.    59. 

selves,  and  despised  or  hated  by  the  rest  of  mankind, 
we  shall  soon  be  convinced,  that  if  the  real  wants  of 
our  condition  are  satisfied,  there  remains  little  to  be 
sought  with  solicitude,  or  desired  with  eagerness. 

No.  59.     TUESDAY,  OCTOBER  9,  1750. 

Est  aliquid  fatdle  malum  per  verba  levari, 
Hoc  querulam  Halcyonenque  Prognen  fadt : 

Hoc  erat,  in  gelido  quare  Pceanilus  antro 
Vox  fatigaret  Lemnia  saxa  sua. 

Strangulat  inclusus  dolor^  atque  excestuat  iniiis^ 
Cogitur  et  vires  multiplicare  suas. 

OVID,   TRIST.  T.   69. 

Complaining  oft,  gives  respite  to  our  grief; 
From  hence  tlie  wretched  Progne  sought  relief, 
Hence  the  P^eantian  chief  his  fate  deplores, 
And  vents  his  sorrow  to  the  Lemnian  shores: 
In  vain  by  secrecy  we  would  assuage 
Our  cares;  conceal'd  they  gather  tenfold  rage. 

F.   LEWIS. 

It  is  common  to  distinguish  men  by  the  names  of 
animals  which  they  are  supposed  to  resemble.  Thus 
a  hero  is  frequently  termed  a  lion,  and  a  statesman 
a  fox,  an  extortioner  gains  the  appellation  of  vulture, 
and  a  fop  the  title  of  monkey.  There  is  also  among 
the  various  anomalies  of  character,  which  a  survey 
of  the  world  exhibits,  a  species  of  beings  in  human 
form,  which  may  be  properly  marked  out  as  the 
screech-owls  of  mankind. 

These  screech-owls  seem  to  be  settled  in  an 
opiuion,  that  the  great  business  of  life  is  to  com- 

NO.   59.  RAMBLER.  403 

plain,  and  that  they  were  born  for  no  other  purpose 
than  to  disturb  the  happiness  of  others,  to  lessen  the 
little  comforts  and  shorten  the  short  pleasures  of  our 
condition,  by  painful  remembrances  of  the  past,  or 
melancholy  prognostics  of  the  future ;  their  only 
care  is  to  crush  the  rising  hope,  to  damp  the  kindling 
transport,  and  allay  the  golden  hours  of  gayety  with 
the  hateful  dross  of  grief  and  suspicion.       | 

To  those,  whose  weakness  of  spirits,  or  timidity 
of  temper,  subjects  them  to  impressions  from  others, 
and  who  are  apt  to  suffer  by  fascination,  and  catch 
the  contagion  of  misery,  it  is  extremely  unhappy  to 
live  within  the  compass  of  a  screech-owl's  voice  ;  for 
it  will  often  fill  their  ears  in  the  hour  of  dejection, 
terrify  them  with  apprehensions,  which  their  own 
thoughts  would  i^ver  have  produced,  and  sadden, 
by  intruded  sorrows,  the  day  which  might  have  been 
passed  in  amusements  or  in  business ;  it  will  burden 
the  heart  with  unnecessary  discontents,  and  w^eaken, 
for  a  time,  that  love  of  life  which  is  necessary  to  the 
vigorous  prosecution  of  any  undertaking. 

Though  I  have,  like  the  rest  of  mankind,  many 
failings  and  weaknesses,  I  have  not  yet,  by  either 
friends  or  enemies,  been  charged  with  superstition ; 
I  never  count  the  company  which  I  enter,  and  I 
look  at  the  new  moon  indifferently  over  either 
shoulder.  I  have,  like  most  other  philosophers, 
often  heard  the  cuckoo  without  money  in  my  pocket, 
and  have  been  sometimes  reproached  as  foolhardy 
for  not  turning  down  my  eyes  when  a  raven  flew 
over  my  head.  I  never  go  home  abruptly,  because 
a  snake  crosses  my  way,  nor  have  any  particular 
dread  of  a  climacterical  year ;  yet  I  confess,  that, 
with  all  my  scorn  of  old  women,  and  their  tales, 
I  consider  it  as  an  unhappy  day  when  I  happen 
to  be  greeted  in  the  morning  by  Suspirius,  the 

404  RAMBLER.  NO.    59. 

I  have  now  known  Suspirius  fiftj-eight,  years  and 
four  months,  and  have  never  yet  passed  an  hour 
with  him  in  which  he  has  not  made  some  attack 
upon  my  quiet.  When  we  were  first  acquainted, 
his  great  topic  was  the  misery  of  youth  without 
riches,  and  whenever  we  walked  out  together,  he 
solaced  me  with  a  long  enumeration  of  pleasures, 
which,  a|  they  were  beyond  the  reach  of  my  fortune, 
were  without  the  verge  of  my  desires,  and  which  I 
should  never  have  considered  as  the  objects  of  a 
wish,  had  not  his  unseasonable  representations  j)laced 
them  in  my  sight. 

Another  of  his  topics  is,  the  neglect  of  merit,  with 
which  he  never  fails  to  amuse  every  man  whom  he 
sees  not  eminently  fortunate.  If  he  meets  with  a 
young  officer,  he  always  informs  lym  of  gentlemen 
whose  personal  courage  is  unquestioned,  and  whose 
military  skill  qualifies  them  to  command  armies, 
that  have,  notwithstanding  all  their  merit,  grown 
old  with  subaltern  commissions.  For  a  genius  in 
the  church,  he  is  always  provided  with  a  curacy  for 
life.  The  lawyer' he  informs  of  many  men  of  great 
parts  and  deep  study,  who  have  never  had  an  op- 
portunity to  speak  in  the  courts :  and  meeting  Sere- 
nus,  the  physician :  '  Ah  doctor,'  says  he,  '  what,  a- 
foot  still,  when  so  many  blockheads  are  rattling  in 
their  chariots  ?  I  told  you  seven  years  ago  that  you 
would  never  meet  with  encouragement,  and  I  hope 
you  will  now  take  more  notice,  when  I  tell  you,  that 
your  Greek,  and  your  diligence,  and  your  honesty, 
will  never  enable  you  to  live  like  yonder  apothecary, 
who  prescribes  to  his  own  shop,  and  laughs  at  the 

Suspirius  has,  in  his  time,  intercepted  fifteen 
authors  in  their  way  to  the  stage ;  persuaded  nine- 
and-thirty  merchants   to  retire  from  a  prosperous 

NO.    59.  RAMBLER.  405 

trade  for  fear  of  bankruptcy,  broke  off  a  hundred 
and  thirteen  matches  by  prognostications  of  un- 
happiness,  and  enabled  the  smallpox  to  kill  nine- 
teen ladies,  by  perpetual  alarms  of  the  loss  of 

Whenever  my  evil  stars  bring  us  together,  he 
never  fails  to  represent  to  me  the  folly  of  my  pur- 
suits, and  informs  me  that  we  are  much  older  than 
when  we  began  our  acquaintance,  that  the  mfirmi- 
ties  of  decrepitude  are  coming  fast  upon  me,  that 
whatever  I  now  get  I  shall  enjoy  but  a  little  time, 
that  fame  is  to  a  man  tottering  on  the  edge' of 
the  grave  of  very  little  importance,  and  that  the 
time  is  at  hand  when  I  ought  to  look  for  no  other 
pleasures  than  a  good  dinner  and  an  easy-chair. 

^  Thus  he  goes  on  in  his  unharmonious  strain, 
displaying  present  miseries,  and  foreboding  more 
vvtiTLKopa^  uei  T^avaT7}(p6pog,  every  syllable  is  loaded  with 
misfortune,  and  death  is  always  brought  nearer  to 
the  view.  Yet,  what  always  raises  my  resentment 
and  indignation,  I  do  not  perceive  that  his  mournful 
meditations  have  much  effect  upon  himself  He 
talks,  and  has  long  talked  of  calamities,  without  dis- 
covering, otherwise  than  by  the  tone  of  his  voice, 
that  he  feels  any  of  the  evils  which  he  bewails  or 
threatens,  but  has  the  same  habit  of  uttering  lamen- 
tations, as  others  of  telling  stories,  and  falls  into  ex- 
pressions of  condolence  for  past,  or  apprehension  of 
future  mischiefs,  as  all  men,  studious  of  their  ease, 
have  recourse  to  those  subjects  upon  which  they  can 
most  fluently  or  copiously  discourse. 

It  is  reported  of  the  Sybarites,  that  they  destroyed 
all  their  cocks,  that  they  might  dream  out  their  morn- 
ing dreams  without  disturbance.  Though  I  would 
not  so  far  promote  effeminacy  as  to  propose  the  Sy- 
barites for  an  example,  yet  since  there  is  no  man  so 

406  RAMBLER.  NO.    59. 

corrupt  or  foolish,  but  something  useful  may  be 
learned  from  him,  I  could  wish  that,  in  imitation  of 
a  people  not  often  to  be  copied,  some  regulations 
might  be  made  to  exclude  screech-owls  from  all 
•company,  as  the  enemies  of  mankmd,  and  confine 
them  to  some  proper  receptacle,  where  they  may 
mingle  sighs  at  leisui-e,  and  thicken  the  gloom  of  one 

Thou  prophet  of  evil,  says  Homer's  Agamemnon, 
thou  never  foretellest  me  good,  but  the  joy  of  thy 
heart  is  to  predict  misfortunes.  Whoever  is  of  the 
same  temper  might  there  find  the  means  of  indulging 
his  thoughts,  and  improving  his  vein  of  denunciation, 
and  the  flock  of  screech-owls  might  hoot  together 
without  injury  to  the  rest  of  the  world. 

Yet,  though  I  have  so  little  kindness  for  this  dark 
generation,  I  am  very  far  from  intendmg  to  debar 
the  soft  and  tender  mind  from  the  j)rivilege  of  com- 
plaining, when  the  sigh  rises  from  the  desire  not  of 
giving  pain,  but  of  gaining  ease.  To  hear  complaints 
with  patience,  even  when  complaints  are  vain,  is  one 
of  the  duties  of  friendship) ;  and  though  it  must  be 
allowed  that  he  suffers  most  like  a  hero  that  hides 
his  grief  in  silence, 

Spem  vultu  simulate  premit  alium  corde  dolorem. 

VIEG.  ^EN.  i.  209. 

His  outward  smiles  conceal' d  his  inward  smart. 


yet,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  he  who  complains  acts 
like  a  man,  like  a  social  being,  who  looks  for  help 
from  his  fellow-creatures.  Pity  is  to  many  of  the 
unhappy  a  source  of  comfort  in  hopeless  distresses, 
as  it  contributes  to  recommend  them  to  themselves, 
by  proving  that  they  have  not  lost  the  regard  of 

NO.  60.  RAMBLER.  407 

Others ;  and  Heaven  seems  to  indicate  the  duty  even 
of  barren  compassion,  by  inclining  us  to  weep  for 
evils  which  we  cannot  remedy. 

No.  60.     SATURDAY,  OCTOBER  13,  1750. 

—  Quid  sit  pulchrum,  quid  turpe,  quid  utile^  quid  non, 
PUniiis  ac  melius  Chrysippo  et  Crantore  dicit. 

HOE.  EPIST.   i.   2.   3. 

Whose  works  the  beautiful  and  base  contain, 

Of  vice  and  virtue  more  instructive  niles, 

Than  all  the  sober  sages  of  the  schools.  francis. 

All  joy  or  sorrow  for  the  happiness  or  calamities 
of  others  is  produced  by  an  act  of  the  imagination, 
that  realizes  the  event  however  fictitious,  or  approxi- 
mates it  however  remote,  by  placing  us,  for  a  time, 
in  the  condition  of  him  whose  fortune  we  contem- 
plate;  so  that  we  feel,  while  the  deception  lasts, 
whatever  motions  would  be  excited  by  the  same  good 
or  evil  happening  to  ourselves. 

Our  passions  are,  therefore,  more  strongly  moved, 
in  proportion  as  we  can  more  readily  adopt  the  pains 
or  pleasure  proposed  to  our  minds,  by  recognizing 
them  as  once  our  own,  or  considering  them  as  nat- 
urally incident  to  our  state  of  life.  It  is  not  easy 
for  the  most  artful  writer  to  give  us  an  interest  in 
happiness  or  misery,  which  we  thmk  ourselves  never 
likely  to  feel,  and  with  which  we  have  never  yet 
been  made  acquainted.  Histories  of  the  downfall  of 
kingdoms,  and  revolutions  of  empires,  are  read  with 

408       •  RAMBLER.  NO.    60. 

great  tranqnilllty ;  the  imperial  tragedy  pleases  com- 
mon auditors  only  by  its  pomjD  of  ornament  and  gran- 
deur of  ideas  ;  and  the  man  whose  faculties  have  been 
engrossed  by  business,  and  whose  heart  never  flut- 
tered but  at  the  rise  or  fall  of  the  stocks,  wonders 
how  the  -attention  can  be  seized,  or  the  affection 
agitated,  by  a  tale  of  love. 

Those  parallel  circumstances,  and  kindred  images, 
to  which  we  readily  conform  our  minds,  are,  above 
all  other  writings,  to  be  found  in  narratives  of  the 
lives  of  particular  persons ;  and,  therefore,  no  sj)ecies 
of  writing  seems  more  worthy  of  cultivation  than 
biography,  since  none  can  be  more  delightful  or 
more  useful,  none  can  more  certainly  enchain  the 
heart  by,  irresistible  interest,  or  more  widely  diffuse 
instruction  to  every  diversity  of  condition. 

The  general  and  rapid  narratives  of  history,  which 
involve  a  thousand  fortunes  in  the  business  of  a  day, 
and  compUcate  innumerable  incidents  in  one  great 
transaction,  afford  few  lessons  applicable  to  private 
life,  which  derives  its  comforts  and  its  wretchedness 
from  the  ri<]i;lit  or  wronor  manaofement  of  things, 
which  nothing  but  their  frequency  makes  consider- 
able, Parva  si  non  Jiunt  quotidie,  says  Pliny,  and 
which  can  have  no  place  in  those  relations  which 
never  descend  below  the  consultations  of  senates, 
the  motions  of  armies,  and  the  schemes  of  con- 

I  have  often  thought  that  there  has  rarely  passed 
a  life  of  which  a  judicious  and  faithful  narrative 
would  not  be  useful.  For,  not  only  every  man  has, 
in  the  mighty  mass  of  the  world,  great  numbers  in 
the  same  condition  with  himself,  to  whom  his  mis- 
takes and  miscarriages,  escapes  and  expedients, 
would  be  of  immediate  and  apparent  use ;  but 
there  is  such  an  uniformity  in  the    state  of  man. 

NO.    60.  RAMBLER.  409 

considered  apart  from  adventitious  and  separable 
decorations  and  disguises,  that  there  is  scarce  any 
possibility  of  good  Qr  ill,  but  is  common  to  human 
kind.  A  great  part  of  the  time  of  those  who  are 
placed  at  the  greatest  distance  by  fortune,  or  by 
temper,  must  miavoidably  pass  in  the  same  manner ; 
and  though,  when  the  claims  of  nature  are  satisfied, 
caprice,  and  vanity,  and  accident,  begin  to  produce 
discrmiinations  and  peculiarities,  yet  the  eye  is  not 
very  heedful  or  quick,  which  cannot  discover  the 
same  causes  still  terminating  their  influence  in  the 
same  effects,  though  sometimes  accelerated,  some- 
times retarded,  or  perplexed  by  multiplied  combina- 
tions. We  are  all  prompted  by  the  same  motives, 
all  deceived  by  the  same  fallacies,  all  animated  by 
hope,  obstructed  by  danger,  entangled  by  desire,  and 
seduced  by  pleasure. 

It  is  frequently  objected  to  relations  of  particular 
lives,  that  they  are  not  distmguished  by  any  striking 
or  wonderful  vicissitudes.  The  scholar  who  passed 
his  life  among  his  books,  the  merchant  who  con- 
ducted only  his  own  affairs,  the  priest  w^hose  sphere 
of  action  was  not  extended  beyond  that  of  his  duty, 
are  considered  as  no  proper  objects  of  public  regard, 
however  they  might  have  excelled  in  their  several 
stations,  whatever  might  have  been  their  learning, 
integrity,  and  piety.  But  this  notion  arises  from 
false  measures  of  excellence  and  dignity,  and  must 
be  eradicated  by  considering  that,  in  the  esteem  of 
uncorrupted  reason,  wdiat  is  of  most  use  is  of  most 

It  is,  indeed,  not  improper  to  take  honest  advan- 
tages of  prejudice,  and  to  gain  attention  by  a  cele- 
brated name  ;  but  the  business  of  the  biographer  is 
often  to  pass  slightly  over  those  performances  and 
incidents,  wdiich  produce  vulgar  greatness,  to  lead 

410  RAMBLER.  NO.    60. 

the  thoughts  into  domestic  privacies,  and  display  the 
minute  details  of  daily  life,  where  exterior  append- 
ages are  cast  aside,  and  men  excel  each  other  only 
by  prudence  and  by  virtue.  The  account  of  Thuanus 
is,  with  great  propriety,  said  by  its  author  to  have 
been  written,  that  it  might  lay  open  to  posterity  the 
private  and  familiar  character  of  that  man,  cujus 
ingenium  et  candorem  ex  ipsius  scriptis  sunt  olim 
semper  miraturi,  '  whose  candour  and  genius  will, 
to  the  end  of  time,  be  by  his  writings  preserved  in 

There  are  many  invisible  circumstances  which, 
whether  we  read  as  inquirers  after  natural  or  moral 
knowledge,  whether  we  intend  to  enlarge  our  science, 
or  increase  our  virtue,  are  more  important  than  pub- 
Uc  occurrences.  Thus  Sallust,  the  great  master  of 
nature,  has  not  forgot,  in  his  account  of  Catilme,  to 
remark  that '  his  walk  was  now  quick,  and  again  slow,* 
as  an  indication  of  a  mind  revolving  something  with 
violent  commotion.  Thus  the  story  of  Melancthon 
affords  a  striking  lecture  on  the  value  of  time,  by 
inibrming  us,  that  when  he  made  an  appointment, 
he  expected  not  only  the  hour,  but  the  minute  to  be 
fixed,  that  the  day  might  not  run  out  in  the  idleness 
of  suspense ;  and  all  the  plans  and  enterprises  of 
De  Wit  are  now  of  less  importance  to  the  world, 
than  that  part  of  his  personal  character  which  repre- 
sented him  as  '  careful  of  his  health,  and  negligent 
of  his  Ufe.' 

But  biography  has  often  been  allotted  to  writers 
who  seem  very  little  acquainted  with  the  nature  of 
their  task,  or  very  negligent  about  the  performance. 
They  rarely  afford  any  other  account  than  might  be 
collected  from  public  papers,  but  imagine  themselves 
writing  a  hfe  when  they  exhibit  a  chronological 
series  of  actions  or  preferment ;  and  so  little  regard 

NO.   60.  RAMBLER.  411 

the  manners  or  behaviour  of  their  heroes,  that  more 
knowledge  may  be  gained  of  a  man's  real  character, 
by  a  short  conversation  with  one  of  his  servants, 
than  from  a  formal  and  stndied  narrative,  begun  with 
his  pedigree  and  ended  with  his  funeral. 

If  now  and  then  thej  condescend  to  inform  the 
world  of  particular  facts,  they  are  not  always  so 
happy  as  to  select  the  most  important.  I  know  not 
well  what  advantage  posterity  can  receive  from  the 
only  circumstance  by  which  Tickell  has  distinguished 
Addison  from  the  rest  of  mankind,  the  u'regularity 
of  his  pulse  :  nor  can  I  thmk  myself  overpaid  for 
the  time  spent  in  reading  the  life  of  Malherb,  by 
being  enabled  to  relate,  after  the  learned  biographer, 
that  Malherb  had  two  predominant  opinions  ;  one, 
that  the  looseness  of  a  single  woman  might  destroy 
all  her  boast  of  ancient  descent ;  the  other,  that  the 
French  beggars  made  use  very  improperly  and  bar- 
barously of  the  phrase  '  noble  gentleman,'  because 
either  word  included  the  sense  of  both. 

There  are,  indeed,  some  natural  reasons  why  these 
narratives  are  often  written  by  such  as  were  not 
likely  to  give  much  instruction  or  delight,, and  why 
most  accounts  of  particular  persons  are  barren  and 
useless.  If  a  life  be  delayed  till  interest  and  envy 
are  at  an  end,  we  may  hope  for  impartiality,  but 
must  expect  little  intelligence ;  for  the  incidents 
which  give  excellence  to  biography  are  of  a  volatile 
and  evanescent  kind,  such  as  soon  escape  the  mem- 
ory, and  are  rarely  transmitted  by  tradition.  We 
know  how  few  can  portray  a  living  acquaintance, 
except  by  his  most  prominent  and  observable  par- 
ticularities, and  the  grosser  features  of  his  mind; 
and  it  may  be  easily  imagined  how  much  of  this  little 
knowledge  may  be  lost  in  imparting  it,  and  how  soon 

412  RAMBLER.  j^O.    60. 

a  succession  of  copies  will  lose  all  resemblance  of 
the  original. 

If  the  biographer  writes  from  personal  knowledge, 
and  makes  haste  to  gratify  the  public  curiosity,  there 
IS  danger  lest  his  interest,  his  fear,  his  gratitude,  or 
his  tenderness,  overpower  his  fidelity,  and  tempt  him 
to  conceal,  if  not  to  invent.     There  are  many  who 
thmk  it  an  act  of  piety  to  hide  the  faults  or  failings 
of  their  friends,  even  when  they  can  no  longer  suffer 
by  their  detection :  we  therefore  see  whole  ranks  of 
characters  adorned  with  uniform  panegyric,  and  not 
to  be  known  from  one  another,  but  by^extrinsic  and 
casual  circumstances.     "  Let  me  remember,"  says 
Hale,  "  when  I  find  myself  inclined  to  pity  a  crim- 
mal,^  that  there  is,  likewise,  a  pity  due  to  the  coun- 
try."    If  we  owe  regard  to  the  memory  of  the  dead, 
there  is  yet  more  respect  to  be  paid  to  knowledge, 
to  virtue,  and  to  truth. 

END    OP    VOL.    XVI. 

University  of 


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